Hacker Attacks Hit Russian Media Outlets

St. PETERSBURG, May 9 (RIA Novosti) – Several media outlets in St. Petersburg, and the popular online news broadcaster Dozhd (Rain) have come under hacker attack, their representatives said on Thursday.

“There has been a DDoS attack going since morning. Our IT service is doing everything possible to get the site back up and running. This is a very serious attack,” the editor-in-chief of the St.Petersburg-based online newspaper Fontaka.ru told RIA Novosti.

Other sites affected include Novaya Gazeta and Ekho Moskvy in St Petersburg. While no one from Novaya Gazeta in St. Petersburg was immediately available for comment, Ekho Moskvy’s St. Petersburg editor said “Yes, the site is down. IT teams are working on it. We suspect a hacker attack.”

Popular online TV network Dozhd posted a statement on Facebook at noon explaining the situation. “Dear friends, the site www.tvrain.ru is temporarily unavailable – we are under DDoS attack.”

The statement described the attack as “more serious than we initially thought,” but reassured their viewers that they were “doing everything possible to get back online” and mentioned that some of their content were available online at http://youtube.com/user/tvrain.ru.

By 3pm Moscow time Thursday, Fontanka.ru was back online, but the St Petersburg Novaya Gazeta and Ekho Moskvy sites were still down, as was that of Dozhd TV.

However, Russian Internet users have also reported problems with the nationwide sites for Novaya Gazeta, Ekho Moskvy and Russian Forbes.

These publications are viewed in Russia as less affected by self-censorship and more closely aligned to the opposition than mainstream Russian media.

The Khomyachki (Little Hamsters) group of “patriotic hackers” posted a video on its site claiming responsibility for the May 9 attacks, saying that the attack was timed to coincide with Victory Day.

There has been no independent verification of the source of the attack or the veracity of this claim.

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