29 January 2009 | 7,328 views

Kyrgyzstan Taken Offline by Huge Denial of Service Attack

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Isn’t it amazing in this day and age an entire country can be knocked offline by Denial of Service attacks! You’d have though it wouldn’t happen any more.

I do remember the days when it was fairly easy to take one of the smaller ISPs out in UK, so I guess the infrastructure of some developing countries is still susceptible to serious data floods.

Currently Kyrgyzstan is offline pretty much, even 48 hours after the attack began accessing major media sites is hit and miss.

The central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan was effectively knocked offline for more than a week by a Russian cybermilitia that continues to flood the country’s internet providers with crippling data attacks, a security expert said.

The attacks, which began on January 18, bear the signature of pro-Russian nationalists believed to have launched similar cyber assaults on the republic of Georgia in August, said Don Jackson, a researcher with Atlanta-based security provider SecureWorks. The attacks on Kyrgyzstan were so potent that most net traffic in and out of the country was completely blocked during the first seven days.

Over the past 48 hours, ISP have managed to mitigate some of the damage by relocating the servers of their biggest customers to different IP address ranges and employing a technique known as source filtering, which is designed to block harmful traffic while still allowing friendly packets through. Some media organizations and government opposition groups in the country of 5.3 million have not been so fortunate.

Believed to have been the work of pro-Russian nationalists, cyber terrorism is getting pretty serious now. These bad guys have some hardcore botnets under their control and can produce some serious traffic.

Apparently the same group attacked Georgia earlier.

The attack on Kyrgyzstan crippled their Internet totally for the first 7 days – that’s some serious traffic!

Representatives from Kyrgyzstan Domain Registration Service and a service known as www.ns.kg didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment. The two services carry about 80 percent of the country’s traffic, Jackson said.

The attacks are the latest example of geopolitical disputes spilling into cyberspace, a trend that’s been growing in the past few years. Web and email traffic in Estonia came to a standstill in May of 2007 after civil unrest over that country’s removal of a Soviet-era memorial was accompanied by attacks on the Baltic nation’s internet infrastructure. Attacks on websites belonging to the Georgian government, on Radio Free Europe and cable television network CNN by Chinese hackers follow a similar pattern.

So-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which flood a victim with so much malicious data it is unable to respond to legitimate requests, aren’t the only weapon in the arsenal of politically motivated hackers. The Israeli Defense Force recently paid a Texas company that specializes in search engine optimization to halt the online backlash generated by its military action in Gaza.

I wonder who will be next, first Georgia and now Kyrgyzstan – I’m sure there will be a new target in the future.

It’s always interesting to see these ‘politically’ motivated attacks and wonder what the people carrying them out really think they are achieving. Do they actually believe denying a whole country it’s Internet will cause any change or any positive action?

I guess they probably just do it because they can, a display of dominance and power.

Source: The Register



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9 Responses to “Kyrgyzstan Taken Offline by Huge Denial of Service Attack”

  1. julian 29 January 2009 at 10:48 am Permalink

    Interesting, I wonder what Kyrgyzstan has done to annoy the Russians?

    The other ‘cyber threat’ that governments worry about is someone hacking into e.g. a power station or a railtract control centre and messing everything up.

  2. navin 29 January 2009 at 1:48 pm Permalink

    along with dominance, I read recntly tht a DDOS works out real cheap…. infact it costs a few cents per PC used.
    and the more the PCs, the cheaper each one is (to be added to the DDOSing group)

    Kyrgyztan has done nothing much to annoy the russians….its just tht cyber laws in Russia vary very much from those in the west. at the same time, they offer 100% protection to their citizens n case of exrtradition cases

    This simply makes it easier for russian wannabes to sharpen their ‘skills’. Some of them are really good at this stuff though!! :)

  3. Guest 29 January 2009 at 2:52 pm Permalink

    Guys, actually Kyrgyztan is pro-russian country, if you are not in topic. So this story about “terrible russian hackers” is a bullshit again.

    BTW, they just refused USA military base..

  4. zdunham 29 January 2009 at 4:12 pm Permalink

    Hey Guest, the research work on the source article was done by security researchers, no one affiliated with the US government, stop your conspiracy theories. There could be any number of motives here regardless of who is pro what.

  5. FlashPratt 30 January 2009 at 4:22 pm Permalink

    I remember living in Kazakhstan back in the day and there were 8-year old Russian and Kazakh children hacking each other like crazy at the “Computer clubs”. :)

  6. navin 1 February 2009 at 2:02 pm Permalink

    Yeah I know…the same thing still happens in india as well….not actually teaching…its more about how to use tools to exploit Government sites etc….No one bothers talkin abt the implications if U get caught, so guys think its completely safe. Then they get caught and spend the rest of their lives in jail!!

    Infact many people think its pretty cool to be a hacker (more of a n00b) and learn L337 speak. U have no idea how many chicks I’ve picked up just coz I know a bit abt network security!! ;) And U said nerds were last on the social calender….. I’ve been with more chicks than most jocks in college!! :)

  7. Guest 3 February 2009 at 7:32 am Permalink

    Zdunham, that work is done by security researcher who shurely have contracts with goverment, see http://www.secureworks.com/compliance/industries/government.html. So he must keep an histeria to keep selling his services. This is a first thing.

    The second one, that he, as a “security researcher”, can say only a one thing – “i see malicious traffic from Russia to Kyrgyztan”. But he made very strange conclusions: “The culprits in the attacks on Kyrgyzstan are most likely a group of technically capable Russian citizens recruited by Russian officials, Jackson said”.

    This can be verified ONLY at police level with tracking people in real life, not with a snort in hands.

    So, he
    ?) either linked with spy services – listen to their “independent voice” hehe
    b) or telling those sweet things because of political or commersial reasons.

    Conspiracy theory in this case are not so strange – because there is no any REASON for “russian officials” to do things mr. Jackson said. American officials, again, have this REASON – media pressure to keep their base, and so on.

  8. Pantagruel 4 February 2009 at 10:14 am Permalink

    Nice bit of FUD mr. Jackson.
    Nothing like some warmed up cold war left-overs. Go clean up you own garden and than start bitchin’ to the neighbors lawn.

    Russia is pumping 1 1/2 billion euro into this dwarf state Kyrgyzstan and the Americans are bitching about the fact they will be kicked of the Manas military base. So who has to gain from this media circus??

  9. Frank Redmond 5 February 2009 at 4:45 pm Permalink

    I live in Atlanta, Georgia, i don’t remember my internet going down at any point.