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Russian pres fumes at mystery DDoS hack

'I couldn't update my blog', Medvedev seethes

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has denounced online vandals who launched an attack against the site that hosts his blog.

The denial of service assault on the LiveJournal site on Wednesday was both "outrageous and illegal" the Russian politician fumed after the assault, the BBC reports. "What has occurred should be examined by LiveJournal's administration and law enforcement agencies," he wrote.*

Novaya Gazeta, a newspaper critical of official government policies, was also hit a day later, on Thursday, as part of a wave of website-jamming attacks directed around the Russian interwebs this week. The paper is running a project to create an "online parliament" in order to create a venue where issues ignored by vested government or corporate interests can be debated and discussed. Novaya Gazeta reckons that this effort to create a forum of free speech is behind the attacks.

Whether the two attacks are linked remains unclear.

LiveJournal addresses associated with a popular anti-corruption blogger, Alexey Navalny, were reportedly the first to be targeted by denial of service attacks that first began on 24 March, according to a post on Kaspersky Lab's SecureList blog. It reports the attacks are using the Optima/Darkness DDoS bot, currently all the rage on Russian language cybercrime forums. Who is being targeted – mostly political bloggers, although one furniture firm is on the list – is clear enough, as is how the attack took place. But why the attacks have been mounted, much less who exactly is behind them, remains unclear.

The other attacks might have been launched in order to draw attention away from the assault on the furniture firm, as Kaspersky analyst Maria Garnaeva notes. Alternatively, the attacks may have originated with anti-opposition cyber-militia, who then mistakenly attacked Medvedev's blog.

In possibly related news, surfers attempting to reach the website of Russian football club Zenit St Petersburg were redirected to a site hosting complaints against local politicians instead earlier this week. We suspect CSKA Moscow fans for this assault, blamed by the club on a DNS records hack. But that's just us. ®

Bootnote

*Sup Media, which runs LiveJournal, described Medvedev as an "enthusiastic blogger" who has maintained a blog on the site for the last two years. This, together with his quotes on the attack, evokes an unflattering image of him at his computer Wednesday – and frustrated at being unable to update his blog – while prime minister Vladamir "Dobby" Putin continues to run the country. Isn't it a bit odd that, as president of a country, Medvedev is writing that the police ought to investigate the attack rather than phoning them up and insisting they look into it. ®

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