Thursday, August 14, 2008

Russia Not Behind Georgian Site Takedowns: Researcher

Earlier this week, I wrote about the conflict between Russia and Georgia, and how Georgia had turned to Google's Blogger service to keep the outside world up-to-date on government updates. While initial speculation was that Russia was behind the DDoS attacks on Georgian sites (which are still down, BTW), at least one researcher is not quite so sure.

Gadi Evron, founder of the Zero Day Emergency Response Team, feels that since the Estonia war, everyone jumps on the cyber-war bandwagon as soon as any hacking occurs with a political bent to it. He says:
Up to the Estonian war, such attacks would be called "hacker enthusiast attacks" or "cyber terrorism" (of the weak sort). Nowadays any attack with a political nature seems to get the "information warfare" tag. When 300 Lithuanian web sites were defaced last month, "cyber war" was the buzzword.

Not every fighting is warfare. While Georgia is obviously under a DDoS attacks and it is political in nature, it doesn't so far seem different than any other online after-math by fans. Political tensions are always followed by online attacks by sympathizers.

Could this somehow be indirect Russian action? Yes, but considering Russia is past playing nice and uses real bombs, they could have attacked more strategic targets or eliminated the infrastructure kinetically.
Kinetically, meaning, rather than attacking the servers with hackers, the Russians might have just as well blown them up.

In fact, Evron went so far as to tell C|Net:
"Although the impact on their Web sites is clear, I believe this may end up being just some kids who got overexcited, with Georgia being ill-prepared to say the least."
Script kiddies? Maybe. Even given that, he felt security community members might have to step in:
DDoS attacks harm the Internet itself rather than just this or that web site, so soon this may require some of us in the Internet security operations community getting involved in mitigating the attacks, if they don't just drop on their own.

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