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[] Hacker bei, Langfassung,

Russians Wage Cyber War on Chechen Websites

By Oliver Bullough 
November 14, 2002 

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Chechen separatists say Russia's FSB security
service is behind the collapse of two Web Sites that form a key source
of news for the rebel area.

The two sites, and, collapsed
under a barrage of attacks from computer hackers just after Russian
troops stormed a Moscow theater killing 41 armed rebels and 128 of the
hostages they had been holding there.

"On October 26 ... our Web Site was attacked by a group of
hackers," said a spokesman for the U.S.-registered site, run by
Movladi Udugov, a former Chechen minister now forced into exile by
Russia's second war against separatists..

"We are amazed Russia's special services can operate so freely on U.S.  
territory," Udugov told Reuters by e-mail.

Udugov's site and Chechen Press, which resumed operations after a few
days, have been a valuable source of alternative information for those
monitoring the conflict in Chechnya.

Russia's FSB domestic intelligence service declined to comment on what
it called the Web Sites' "criminal activities."

"They are just lying, they have a tradition of lying, that is their
ethic," said FSB spokesman Andrei Larushin.

With most reporters barred from visiting Chechnya, many have used the
Web Sites for an unofficial angle, admissions of responsibility for
rebel attacks or front-line reports.

Albert Digaev, who runs Chechen Press, said a well-coordinated cyber
attack had floored his site for several days in the aftermath of the

"Our Web Site was flooded with so-called
'dos-attacks' originated by Russians," he said by e-mail.

Hackers can paralyze Web Sites by overloading them with electronic
messages, giving them too much data to process.

Udugov said the closure of was more complex than a mere
data overload. He said the registration had been changed against his
will, and the site closed.

Websites are kept on a host computer, but their structure can only be
modified by the registered owner.

The Internet host confirmed the registration had been changed. The
company was looking into whether it was stolen.

"The site is frozen," Verisign Inc Spokesman Brian O'Shaughnessy told
Reuters. "Currently the site is in dispute."

Udugov moved the site to the new address, but by
early November that also came under electronic attack and was not
working on Thursday.

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