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Crimean govt: Referendum website downed by cyber-attack from US

Published time: March 16, 2014 13:15
Edited time: March 16, 2014 16:12
AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana

AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana

The official website of the Crimean referendum is down due to a cyber-attack that originated from the US, Crimean authorities say.

The exact location from which the website’s servers were attacked was Illinois University, Crimean minister of information and mass communications Dmitry Polonsky told Itar-Tass news agency.

“This place turned out to be the Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign. A massive scanning of the servers took place from there before the attack,” Polonsky said.

The assault started during the night (2300 GMT Saturday). Polonsky stressed that the referendum website has been “DDoS-attacked regularly since its launch.” The portal with .ua domain was replaced with .ru after several attacks.

The referendum is taking place in Crimea, with the vote reported to be peaceful and with high turnout, according to both international observers and Crimean authorities.

On Friday, major Russian government web resources were attacked with DDoS malware – those included the Russian president’s website, as well as those of the Foreign Ministry and the Central Bank.

Also, state media websites – the Channel One and Russia-24 TV channels – were under attack, reportedly from Kiev. The targeted Russian media said the attacks were linked to their editorial policy in covering Ukraine.

Finally, on the same day, an attempted radio-electronic attack on Russian TV satellites from the territory of Western Ukraine was recorded by the Ministry of Communications.

DDoS is the kind of cyber-attack during which requests are sent to the attacked website from many computers, usually virus-infected.