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President of Georgia's Site Under Attack

Former Soviet republic could follow Estonia and Lithuania as the next target of Russian cyber attacks

The Website of President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia was rendered unavailable for more than a day this weekend, thanks to a multi-pronged, distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack.

According to a report by researchers at Shadowserver, at least one botnet is attacking the Georgian government site with a variety of simultaneous attacks, including TCP, ICMP, and HTTP floods.

The server that houses the Website has been largely offline since the attack started, Shadowserver says. The server also houses several other Websites, including the Social Assistance and Employment State Agency Website (www.saesa.gov.ge). All of the sites on the host have been rendered inaccessible.

Shadowserver says it hasn't been able to definitively establish the DOS attack as the work of the Russian cyber attack force which took out many Estonian government sites in 2007 and several Lithuanian sites last month. (See Russians Organizing 'Political Hack Force'.)

"We do not have any solid proof that the people behind this [command and control] server are Russian. However, the HTTP-based botnet C&C server is a MachBot controller, which is a tool that is frequently used by Russian bot herders," Shadowserver says. "On top of that, the domain involved with this C&C server has seemingly bogus registration information, but does tie back to Russia.

"Who else have these guys been attacking with this MachBot C&C server? The answer is no one," Shadowserver says. "This server recently came online in the past few weeks, and has not issued any other attacks that we have observed until recently. All attacks we have observed have been directed right at www.president.gov.ge."

The researchers recommend blocking or monitoring traffic to the the IP address 207.10.234.244, which is located in the United States and is suspected of being a key server in the attack. Beaconing traffic from your network to this host may indicate that you have infected machines on your network and that your machines may be participating in this DDOS attack, Shadowserver says.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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