How does one get revenge on a trendy Web site that ferreted out and made public a bit of foul play, namely, rigged voting from Lithuania, which gave the charming Russian crooner at the Eurovision 2013 song contest a few extra votes? This is what happened to Delfi.lt, the trendiest Lithuanian Web site, after it broke the vote-rigging scandal. The site had already dealt with a hacker e-ambush a few years ago, when, having announced the news about two Russian bombers at the Latvian border, e-intruders in revenge hacked the portal and put atop the news desk a piece on… a bunny, the main hero of the popular Soviet-era cartoon ‘Na, Palauk’ (Just watch Out!), that has been busted for drug use. This is not an April Fool’s Day prank. In fact, the whole thing is a lot more serious than that: it is a problem of malignant hackers, possibly from the East, and certainly grudge-filled. Ahead of the scandalous story on the rigged Eurovision votes, Delfi editors had received an e-mail in Russian promising “radical actions” if the story reached daylight.
“The journalistic material harms both Russia’s and our Motherland’s Eurovision representative Dina Garipova’s reputation. We urgently advise removing the content from the Web site within an hour. Otherwise radical actions will be applied against your Web site,” the e-mail read. Editors did not budge…
When the Delfi editors didn’t budge, the digital menace transformed into digital action. After the hour passed, the portal was shut down, and the attempts persisted even after it was recovered.
“This is an obvious DDoS [Distributes Denial of Service] hacking attack. There have been connections from different countries, like Turkey, Russia, Japan and Brazil. All those computers were linked to the so-called botnet, also known as a zombie army [it is a number of Internet computers that, although their owners are unaware of it, have been set up to forward transmissions, including spam or viruses, to other computers on the Internet]. Now the attack has been fended off,” Kristijonas Siaulys, Delfi’s IT department head, said in a statement.
IT nerds say that DDoS attacks target computers of ordinary users who do not bother installing anti-virus programs. When the malignant code hits, it penetrates the computers, incapacitating them. “Simply speaking, the gadgets are turned into electronic zombies. Frankly, it is not very difficult to hack a Web site in Lithuania. Unfortunately, unlike in Western Europe, the Baltic States, perhaps with the slight exclusion of Estonia, have done little in beefing up their e-security,” Gediminas Gricius, an IT expert and deputy director of IT Uostas, an IT company, said to The Baltic Times.