Cyber Attack Paralyzes Novaya Gazeta Site

A cyber attack paralyzed the web site of Novaya Gazeta on Friday, days after similar attacks knocked out LiveJournal, Russia’s most popular blogging site.

Novaya Gazeta’s web site went down early Friday after a massive denial-of-service attack, said Dmitry Muratov, the newspaper’s editor.

The attacks involved a flood of computers all trying to connect to a single site at the same time, which overwhelm the computer server that handles the traffic.

Novaya Gazeta’s web site typically receives 70,000 to 120,000 unique visitors every day, Muratov said. But the attack was so strong that at one point the web site got 70,000 visit requests every 14 seconds.

The newspaper’s web site was working like normal on Sunday. An article on the site said service had been fully restored Saturday.

Muratov said the attacks aim to “discredit the public platforms which express alternative points of views.” He said he believed the attacks are linked to State Duma elections in December and the presidential vote in 2012.

LiveJournal, Russia’s most popular blogging site, suffered sustained outage earlier last week. President Dmitry Medvedev, an avid blogger, on Thursday condemned that attack as “outrageous and illegal.”

Russian opposition leader Ilya Yashin also linked the attacks to the upcoming vote.

“It’s quite possible that those people who have ordered the attack are planning the complete crash of LiveJournal in the heat of the 2011-2012 election campaign,” he wrote on his blog Friday.

The onslaught on LiveJournal started with an attack on the blog of anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, said a statement from Maria Garnayeva, an analyst with computer security company Kaspersky Lab.

Novaya Gazeta quoted Kaspersky as saying the attack on the newspaper and on LiveJournal originated from the same source. The lab was not immediately available for further comment.

Bloggers have speculated that the authorities were behind the LiveJournal attack, saying that no one else has the resources to stage them.

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