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News

Russia suspected of hacking Georgian websites

McAfee : 13 August, 2008  (Technical Article)
The Georgian conflict is now believed to have taken an electronic turn with official government web sites having been hacked and brought down according to McAfee
Reports have emerged from Georgia, accusing Russia of engaging in cyber war during the recent conflict between the two countries. Georgian officials are claiming government websites have been hacked into, blocking visitors from accessing the sites.

The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was one of the first websites to be targeted using a suspected ‘denial of service’ attack, whereby websites are bombarded with millions of hits causing them to falter and crash.

Russia has been accused of causing these issues, forcing the Georgian government to set up a temporary foreign affairs website on the Google-owned ‘Blogger’ service.

There are marked similarities between this and the attacks on Estonia in 2007, where Russia was again accused of launching a massive cyber assault on the websites of government ministries, political parties, newspapers, banks, and companies.

Greg Day, security analyst at McAfee comments: 'We can expect to see cyber attacks being increasingly used as a weapon alongside physical attacks. The benefits of using such methods are that no one is directly physically hurt or killed and it is much harder to pinpoint the source and who is involved. Furthermore, cost makes this a really appealing option as it is far less expensive and more simple to instigate than a full scale military attack, yet still creates maximum levels of destruction. As well as being a critical resource for government ministries, the Internet also plays an important role in the running of countries and this disruption can damage economies and severely impact the running of services. Governments need to have in place strategies to prepare for this type of attack and to ensure that resources can be sustained at all times'

The third edition of McAfee's Virtual Criminology Report, published in November 2007, predicted that a rise in international cyber espionage would pose the single biggest threat to national security in 2008. The report also foresaw that governments and allied groups would use the Internet to launch cyber attacks targeting critical national infrastructure network systems such as electricity, air traffic control, financial markets and government computer networks.
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