Russian President Blasts Online Attacks on Opposition Blogs
Russia's government-supporting hackers have come up against an unexpected foe: the president of Russia.
President Dmitri Medvedev today (April 7) used his blog to lash out at whoever launched a two-week attack on LiveJournal, an American-founded blogging platform popular in Russia.
"What happened must be investigated by the administration of LiveJournal administration and law enforcement agencies," Medvedev wrote, according to Agence France-Presse.
An attack on LiveJournal began on March 24 with a directed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against the blog of Alexei Navalny, who has used the platform to air grievances about official corruption and the ruling United Russia party.
By yesterday (April 6), when the attack ended, the targets of the DDoS attack had expanded to dozens of different LiveJournal sites, knocking the entire Russian-language version of the platform offline including Medvedev's own blog.
It should be obvious to specialists in the Russian-speaking blogosphere that the list affects some of the most popular bloggers on LiveJournal who write about a wide variety of things, wrote Maria Garnaevna of Moscow-based Kaspersky Labs in a blog posting.
Garnaevna was surprised that LiveJournal Russia had not contacted Russian authorities about the attack.
We haven't approached the Russian law-enforcement authorities with a request to start legal proceedings, but we don't exclude a lawsuit option, Svetlana Ivannikova, head of LiveJournal Russia, told Garnaevna.
As often happens in DDoS attacks against Russia's perceived enemies, suspicions fell on hackers working for or with the Russian state .
"Possibly, we are witnessing a field exercise aimed at preventing public unrest during the State Duma elections in December and the presidential vote in March," opposition politician Vladimir Ryzhkov wrote on his website, according to Reuters.
DDoS attacks involve using thousands of linked computers to simultaneously bombard a website with millions or billions of unresolvable requests for data, which can swiftly tie up servers and prevent legitimate users from visiting the site.
Western observers see Medvedev as more liberal and less powerful than his predecessor in the presidency, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Both men are eligible to run in the presidential election scheduled for next year.
Navalny was the subject of a profile in a recent issue of the American magazine The New Yorker.