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Russian Botnets Found to Attack with Political Motives

Senior Security Engineer, Jose Nazario, at Arbor Networks, said that he has found evidence of botnets being used to launch Denial of Service (DoS) attacks that are politically motivated. The Register published this in news on December 14, 2007.

Events that are political sometimes have hacking incidents accompanying them by way of website defacements. These cyber attacks received little attention until the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in Estonia earlier in 2007 when commercial and government websites in the Baltic country were taken off the Internet in April following a diplomatic disruption with Russia over change of location of a memorial of Soviet-era soldiers.

Editor Merit Kopli of Postimees, a prominent Estonian newspaper that was targeted along with another important newspaper, reported in June this year that the DoS attacks had originated in Russia that were undoubtedly political. SCMagazine published this in news in the first week of June 2007.

The ATCA, i.e., Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance, a body of financial services organizations and arms groups, too claimed in June 2007 that it found circumstantial evidence of an alleged agreement between botnet herders and Russia for fraudulent purposes. The Alliance said that the botnets were hired for a brief period to push the number of compromised PCs to more than a million.

However, Russia has been consistently denying its involvement in any attack from the botnet. But the ACTA said that the attackers enslaved computers to build a massive network on May 9, 2007 in regions along the Far East and North America in an attempt to spread their attack far and wide. Search for victims of the botnet attackers has since been initiated in Russia.

Nazario, in the second week of December 2007, traced similar assaults on website of Gary Kasparov, well acclaimed Russian chess champion, now an anti-establishment politician, and another protesting site namarsh.ru to a network of bot-infected PCs.

Nazario also traced attacks on the Ukrainian Party of Regions' pro-Russian website during September-November 2007 back to a botnet.

Nazario wrote that he could imagine situations where hackers in Russia attack Russian websites of disagreeing nature and also websites of politicians but didn't know the person behind them.

Related article: Russian Hackers Break into NOAA to Push Pills

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