Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Russia's Cyber-Attacks on Georgia and Estonia Draw Criticism

Jacob Goodwin writes on

The popular concept of the cyber-attacks launched by Russia against Estonia and Georgia in recent years is that an army of volunteer hackers bombarded government computers in those target countries with disabling botnet attacks.

But the reality is that most of the cyber-pain suffered by Estonia, for example, was caused when the U.S. and European banking system chose intentionally to cut off Estonia from the Internet-based financial clearing networks, because the networks couldn't distinguish bona fide transactions emanating from Estonia from botnet-induced bogus transactions.

"We lost the U.S. Treasury for four hours," explained Stephen Spoonamore, a partner with Global Strategic Partners and an expert in international cyber warfare, "and that's really bad."

While Estonia's banking system was being bombarded, the European banking settlement networks were trying to close for the day, but were being flooded with botnet attacks from Estonia and Lithuania (another target of Russia's cyber-offensive).

Trillions of dollars of flow was at stake, said Spoonamore, during a luncheon presentation at the GovSec security show in Washington on March 11, "but no one could tell what was real." To protect the integrity of its financial system, the European banking network cut off Estonia and Lithuania, he added.

More here.


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