Feeds

Kremlin-backed youths launched Estonian cyberwar, says Russian official

Mea Culpa without the culpa

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Members of a Kremlin-backed youth group spearheaded the cyberattacks that paralyzed Estonia's internet traffic in May of 2007, a Russian government official has admitted.

Until recently, Russia has denied any involvement in the DDoS (or distributed denial of service) attacks, which followed a diplomatic row between the two countries. But in an interview with The Financial Times, a "commissar" in a Kremlin-backed youth group known as Nashe unapologetically said he and other associates were behind the month-long assault.

"I wouldn't have called it a cyber attack; it was cyber defence," the official, Konstantin Goloskokov, told the paper. "We taught the Estonian regime the lesson that if they act illegally, we will respond in an adequate way."

Applying what can fairly be described as twisted logic, Goloskokov continued: "We did not do anything illegal. We just visited the various internet sites, over and over, and they stopped working. We didn't block them: they were blocked by themselves because of their own technical limitations in handling the traffic they encountered."

The claim of responsibility came after Goloskokov's boss, Sergei Markov, recently alluded to the possibility a Russian official was behind the infamous cyberattacks. At a recent conference on information warfare in the 21st century, Markov said one of his assistants carried out the attacks. "I won't tell you his name, because then he might not be able to get visas," he said, leaving some to wonder if his comments were a joke.

Evidently, they weren't. But it would appear Russian officials are working to distance themselves from the attacks. While Nashe is the brainchild of the Kremlin's chief ideologist, Vladislav Surkov, it is privately financed. Goloskokov denied he and his associates were acting on orders from the Russian government. "We did everything based on our own initiative," he insisted.

Maybe, but we'd be surprised if Russian law enforcement officials, who are now presented with a confession of a sustained cyber assault that flooded Estonian government sites with some 100MB of data, took any kind of action against Nashe or its leader. Sometimes, inaction is all the action you need. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.