DDoS attacks knock Radio Free Europe off the Web

Attack likened to decades old efforts by the Soviet Union to jam a US-funded group's radio signals

Several Radio Free Europe Web sites were knocked off the Internet a week ago in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that the news organization's spokesman compared to attempts decades ago by the Soviet Union to jam the US-funded group's radio signals.

The attack, which started on April 26, hit Radio Free Europe's Belarus Web site hardest and was timed to coincide with protests there that day to mark the anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the organization claimed. Seven other Radio Free Europe (RFE) sites, including those in Kosovo and Azerbaijan, as well as the Russian-language site, were also affected.

"We had restored service on all but the Belarus site late Monday morning," Martins Zvaners, a Washington-based RFE spokesman, said Friday. "The Belarus site was up again on that afternoon."

Radio Free Europe and an associated service, Radio Liberty, are news organizations funded by the US Congress that date back to 1949, when RFE began broadcasting news to radio listeners in Eastern Europe and the USSR at the beginning of the Cold War. The organization still uses radio to distribute its news, but it also relies on the Internet.

The incident was the largest attack RFE had ever experienced, said Zvaners. "It was massive, and it was distributed," he said. At its peak, the DDoS attack was sending more then 50,000 requests to the RFE sites, which overwhelmed its servers' capacity and essentially knocked the sites offline. Other Belarusian sites were also hit, including the Minsk-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) Charter 97.

Within an hour of RFE issuing a news release on Monday detailing the attack, "the bogus requests petered out," said Zvaners.

RFE has taken steps to protect against similar attacks in the future, but Zvaners would not get specific. "Our network [administrators] are looking at ways to better protect our sites from future attacks," he said.

April 26 was the 22nd anniversary of the meltdown at a nuclear reactor near Chernobyl, Ukraine. A plume of highly radioactive fallout drifted to the northwest, over what is now Belarus and toward Finland and Sweden. Large areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine were contaminated, but the majority of the fallout landed in Belarus.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?