Georgia cyberattacks linked to Russian organized crime
IDG News Service - The cyberattacks against Georgia a year ago were conducted in close connection with Russian criminal gangs, and the attackers likely were tipped off about Russia's intent to invade the country, according to a new technical analysis, much of which remains secret.
The stunning conclusions come from the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, an independent nonprofit research institute that assesses the impact of cyber attacks. A 100-page technical analysis is only being made available to the U.S. government and some cybersecurity professionals, but the organization did release a nine-page summary early Monday.
The report in part confirms some of the suspicions of observers, who theorized that the distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS), which crippled many Georgian Web sites, had its roots in Russia.
The report was chiefly produced through investigations by the CTO of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, John Bumgarner. It involved analyzing a raft of data collected as the attacks were going on and afterwards. The data included server logs from a variety of stakeholders, some of whom would not share information with each other, said Scott Borg, director and chief economist of the institute.
Russia launched a five-day military campaign in August 2008 that corresponded with Georgia's attempts to assert greater control over the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions, which have strong ties to Russia. Bombers struck targets throughout the country, and at the same time Georgian media and government sites fell under DDOS attack.
That timing doesn't appear to be a coincidence. The attacks were executed with an efficiency that indicated pre-planning, and the cyberattacks also preceded the first news stories of Russia's military intervention, according to the report.
"Many of the cyber attacks were so close in time to the corresponding military operations that there had to be close cooperation between people in the Russian military and the civilian cyber attackers," the report said. "Many of the actions the attackers carried out, such as registering new domain names and putting up new Web sites, were accomplished so quickly that all of the steps had to be prepared earlier."
Borg said that the institute is confident that the Russian government didn't directly carry out the attacks. But it is clear that Russia appeared to be leveraging civilian nationalists who were ready to take cyber action, perhaps with some low-level encouragement.
"It appears that the military invasion was taking into account the help they were about to receive ... by the cyberattack," Borg said.
It is not clear, however, at what level the interaction between Russian government officials and those who executed the attacks occurred. But it does appear that the loose coordination will likely become part of Russia's standard operating procedure from now on, Borg said.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data
- HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard
- This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting
- This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle
- This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle. All Government IT White Papers
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- All Government IT Webcasts