War in Russian cyber space

02/07/2007 Written by Roberto Preatoni (SyS64738)

Russ­ian oppo­si­tion par­ties (from democ­rats to ultra-​nationalists) and inde­pen­dent Media declared that their web servers have been recently affected by a “murky” wave of hack­ing attacks, Asso­ci­ated Press reported yesterday.

Accord­ing to cyber-​victims such attacks, whose DDos modal­ity was very sim­i­lar to the one that no long ago jeop­ar­dized Eston­ian cyber space , were backed by the Krem­lin which is try­ing to reduce the power of free sources of infor­ma­tion. No mate­r­ial proof has been offered yet in sup­port of sim­i­lar accusation.

Such cyber offen­sive, as reported by the Cen­ter for Jour­nal­ism in Extreme Sit­u­a­tions, was based on “vast, online net­works of com­put­ers infected with mali­cious soft­ware — whose own­ers prob­a­bly aren’t aware they are involved — to par­a­lyze or erase tar­geted websites.”

Yet, accord­ing to Polit­i­cal Par­ties and Media, this attack could be seen as an explicit threat against the oppo­nents to Gov­ern­ment , that is already prepar­ing its resources to December’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tion and to next March’s pres­i­den­tial election.

Con­sid­er­ing the sit­u­a­tion at the moment, when elec­tion are still quite dis­tant, we can rea­son­ably sup­pose that Russ­ian dig­i­tal grown will become more and more tur­bu­lent with the approach­ing of elec­tions. Stanislav Belkovsky, a polit­i­cal ana­lyst who can count on some acquain­tances among Krem­lin insid­ers, con­firmed such hypoth­e­sis by declar­ing that a senior asso­ciate of Pres­i­dent Putin was lead­ing the attack. The gov­ern­ment imme­di­ately tra­versed it and added that attack­ers could have forged Inter­net Pro­to­col addresses reg­is­tered to gov­ern­ment offices.

The accu­sa­tions moved against the Krem­lin, how­ever are very clear and quite seri­ous: accord­ing to Mr. Belkovsky, which is also the founder of the Russ­ian National Strat­egy Insti­tute, the Krem­lin is inten­tioned to get the con­trol over the polit­i­cal con­tent of online media.

Russ­ian Gov­ern­ment already owns three major national tele­vi­sion net­works, major radio net­works, wire ser­vices and print pub­li­ca­tions. Inde­pen­dent media are under a con­stant, cen­sor­ing pressure.

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