[ISN] Russians Wage Cyber War on Chechen Websites

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Nov 15 2002 - 03:18:46 PST

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    By Oliver Bullough 
    November 14, 2002 
    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Chechen separatists say Russia's FSB security
    service is behind the collapse of two Web Sites that form a key source
    of news for the rebel area.
    The two sites, www.kavkaz.org and www.chechenpress.com, collapsed
    under a barrage of attacks from computer hackers just after Russian
    troops stormed a Moscow theater killing 41 armed rebels and 128 of the
    hostages they had been holding there.
    "On October 26 ... our Web Site kavkaz.org was attacked by a group of
    hackers," said a spokesman for the U.S.-registered site, run by
    Movladi Udugov, a former Chechen minister now forced into exile by
    Russia's second war against separatists..
    "We are amazed Russia's special services can operate so freely on U.S.  
    territory," Udugov told Reuters by e-mail.
    Udugov's site and Chechen Press, which resumed operations after a few
    days, have been a valuable source of alternative information for those
    monitoring the conflict in Chechnya.
    Russia's FSB domestic intelligence service declined to comment on what
    it called the Web Sites' "criminal activities."
    "They are just lying, they have a tradition of lying, that is their
    ethic," said FSB spokesman Andrei Larushin.
    With most reporters barred from visiting Chechnya, many have used the
    Web Sites for an unofficial angle, admissions of responsibility for
    rebel attacks or front-line reports.
    Albert Digaev, who runs Chechen Press, said a well-coordinated cyber
    attack had floored his site for several days in the aftermath of the
    "Our Web Site chechenpress.com was flooded with so-called
    'dos-attacks' originated by Russians," he said by e-mail.
    Hackers can paralyze Web Sites by overloading them with electronic
    messages, giving them too much data to process.
    Udugov said the closure of kavkaz.org was more complex than a mere
    data overload. He said the registration had been changed against his
    will, and the site closed.
    Websites are kept on a host computer, but their structure can only be
    modified by the registered owner.
    The Internet host confirmed the registration had been changed. The
    company was looking into whether it was stolen.
    "The site is frozen," Verisign Inc Spokesman Brian O'Shaughnessy told
    Reuters. "Currently the site is in dispute."
    Udugov moved the site to the new www.kavkazcenter.com address, but by
    early November that also came under electronic attack and was not
    working on Thursday.
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