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WikiLeaks haters launch DDoS assault on Russia Today

In support of the Pussy Riot 3

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An anti-WikiLeaks group has admitted responsibility for a sustained DDoS attack that made the Russia Today website intermittently unavailable on Friday.

The Kremlin-funded channel features a talk show hosted by Julian Assange but posts by AntiLeaks, the group which launched the attack, suggest the assault has more to do with the controversial guilty verdict in the trial of Russian feminist punk rockers Pussy Riot.

All three members of Pussy Riot were jailed for two years on Friday after they were convicted for singing an anti-Putin song in Moscow's Orthodox Cathedral. They were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred".

Russian Today (RT) confirmed a wave of assaults against its main website in a series of Twitter updates (here and here) and in a story on its website.

WikiLeaks condemned the attack on RT as an assault on free speech. "WikiLeaks condemns the attempt to censor RT. RT is an important alternative voice in the West," a tweet by the whistle-blowing group said.

RT's editorial line generally supports both Assange and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Jeremy Nicholls, channel & business development director at DDoS mitigation specialists Arbor Networks, commented: “The attack against Russia Today highlights how DDoS is increasingly being used as a method of protest by activist groups in order to voice their frustrations.

"Hackers understand the damage they can inflict upon an organisation when they hit them with a DDoS attack, as they essentially shut down their entire business – meaning customers are unable to access their site, causing significant financial and reputational damage.

"It is therefore extremely important that organisations take the threat posed by cyber-criminals seriously. Organisations should not ask themselves if they will be attacked, they should ask themselves when they will be attacked. It is important for organisations to identify where their most critical assets lie within their network and ensure they are comprehensively protected from opportunistic hackers," he added. ®

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