Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Russian Hackers to Attack Georgian Sites

Recently, Georgian Web sites has been attacked by Russian hackers, including one hosted in the U.S., even as Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered a halt to hostilities against Georgia.

According to Tom Burling, as chief executive of Atlanta-based Web-hosting firm Tulip Systems Inc., the Web site of the Georgia president was the target of a flood of traffic from Russia aiming to overwhelm the site. Moreover, Burling said bogus traffic outnumbered legitimate traffic 5000 to 1 at

Recently, the site has been periodically inaccessible, though it was working midday Tuesday. According to Burling, the attacks have been reported to the FBI. Tulip's firewall was blocking most of the malicious traffic. In addition, the site was transferred from servers in Georgia, the small nation south of Russia, on Saturday.

Georgian-born Nino Doijashvili, Tulip's chief executive and founder, happened to be in the country on vacation when fighting broke out Thursday. Doijashvili offered help to the government when it became apparent that Russian hackers were getting the upper hand, shutting down several news and government sites.

According to the United States-based Shadowserver Foundation, which tracks Internet attacks, they had noticed commands to attack Georgian sites being issued over the weekend to "botnets," or networks of computers that have been surreptitiously subverted by hackers. Those computers are used to send bogus traffic to targeted sites, slowing them or in some cases bringing them down.

According to Steven Adair at Shadowserver, the same botnets are also targeting Russian news sites and the Web site of Gary Kasparov, the Russian chess player and political activist. Moreover, he said, on Monday, hackers took over the Georgia's parliament Web site and replaced it with an image that drew parallels between Georgian president Adolf Hitler and Mikhail Saakashvili.

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