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Kremlin-Backed Nashi Admits Cyberattacking Estonia 181

Posted by timothy
from the please-send-me-some-polonium-antidote dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Russia's Kremlin-based youth movement Nashi admits being responsible for 2007 cyberattacks against Estonia. An interesting point is that when you DDoS the systems, it's not the fault of some people who want to crash it but instead the systems' for blocking their users due to technical limitations. So if I shot someone to death it's not my fault for shooting them, but theirs instead because of technical limitations of their body."
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Kremlin-Backed Nashi Admits Cyberattacking Estonia

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  • Yeah, so now I can take care of all those pesky drivers out there....Wait, what?
  • Justice (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:22PM (#27156485)

    At least we can count on the Russian prosecutors to investigate and extradite those responsible in a timely manner.

    • Re:Justice (Score:4, Funny)

      by Abreu (173023) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:32PM (#27156631)

      Could someone explain what was the point on admitting guilt? It takes away all the fun of the conspiracy theorists!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by djupedal (584558)

        You've obviously never heard of anyone admitting guilt whilst having a loaded Kalashnikov pointed at the back of their head...

        • by Slumdog (1460213)

          You've obviously never heard of anyone admitting guilt whilst having a loaded Kalashnikov pointed at the back of their head...

          Wait, this was classified. Who told you?

        • You've obviously never heard of anyone admitting guilt whilst having a loaded Kalashnikov pointed at the back of their head...

          That's because Gitmo doesn't use AKs.

          </flamebait>

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        To the conspiracy theorists, Nashi is really a cover operation that is being blackmailed by the Greys, the Masons, and the Illuminati.

        Or something like that...

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      I wonder, if one of them comes to the US will the FBI put them in jail like they did Dimitri? Nah, that only happened because he and his company produced software that pissed Adobe off. Now, if these guys had chracked Sun or Microsoft they'd be in deep shit!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I am all for punishing the bad guys and everything, but how would US authorities have jurisdiction over an attack that happened on Estonia from Russia? Can they prove that it crossed American networks?
        • I am all for punishing the bad guys and everything, but how would US authorities have jurisdiction over an attack that happened on Estonia from Russia? Can they prove that it crossed American networks?

          Maybe on the theory that they were enemy combatants against a U.S. ally?

        • Re:Justice (Score:5, Insightful)

          by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:57PM (#27156993)

          This was bad enough that there was talk that it could trigger NATO's common aggression pact: that when one country from NATO is attacked, all countries in NATO have to react as though they had been attacked. Needless to say, it didn't get there, but this was seen as a very serious test of the NATO alliance. I don't think that any prosecution will result from this, but this was taken very seriously by all members of NATO, including the US.

        • er. he didn't say anything about extraditing them to the US, you know... i'm sure Estonian law enforcement would be the ones who get to handle this, our World Police badge notwithstanding...
        • by mcgrew (92797)

          Skylarof and Elcomsoft made their software in Russia and broke no Russian laws. When Skylarof treveled to the US to give a speech, he was arrested and jailed for months. I see little difference here.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I typed out a humorous (to me) reply to this, previewed it, and then thought the better of submitting it.

      Is it strange that someone sitting in the American Midwest actually felt real fear of Russian power - enough to self-censor communications?

      Or am I just exceptionally cowardly? :)

      • by Shihar (153932)

        I am pretty sure you are just a coward.

        If Russia has the capacity to send out hit squads and kill every single anti-Russian flame, troll, or well reasoned point, the rest of the world should pretty much just surrender now and welcome our new Russian overlords.

        • by Slumdog (1460213)

          welcome our new Russian overlords.

          Haven't these guys pwn'd the internet several times through a flood of news every now and then when someone somewhere was "evacuated" by ingenious means? They have the power to dominate news outlets at will, all they do is find a clever cold-blooded way to set off the process, and then it enters your psyche.

      • by Glothar (53068)

        In New Russia, post cancels you.

        [/required]

  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:28PM (#27156563) Homepage Journal

    An interesting point is that when you DDoS the systems, it's not the fault of some people who want to crash it but instead the systems' for blocking their users due to technical limitations.

    Absolutely, Nashi was doing them a favor by pointing out the flaws in their systems. I think Estonia should reciprocate and offer them high paying jobs in their IT Department. While slightly misguided these Nashi kids are obviously gifted. Put their talents to use for good and I'm sure nothing could possibly go wrong.

    • Actually give some credit. Pulling of a DDOS, without lots of money, is quite hard (and even when you have money, there are lots of dumb ways that won't work, such as buying bandwidth somewhere and have a server-farm do the ddossing).

      • by malkir (1031750)
        All they did was distribute a tool to the kids who used it willingly...it's like asking a zombie to bite you, 'please sir, may I have another?'
        • by vishbar (862440)
          Plus (this being Russia after all) how many of them had connections in the Russian Business Network [wikipedia.org] and, perhaps, a couple of botnets at hand?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by aurispector (530273)

            This being Russia and all, I wouldn't believe a word of it. The Soviet Union collapsed and the KGB took over. If the RBN had a hand it was probably at the request of the government. Welcome to the new cold war.

    • by Jurily (900488)

      I think Estonia should reciprocate and offer them high paying jobs in their IT Department.

      And hang them as a war criminal on their second workday.

    • I think Estonia should reciprocate and offer them high paying jobs in their IT Department.

      Sounds like a great idea to me.

      They could help build the country's new IT infrastructure at the Viru [wikimedia.org] site.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Or reciprocate by indirectly pointing out flaws in Russian IT sites.

  • by duckInferno (1275100) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:31PM (#27156603) Journal
    due to cryogenics and the strong possibility of future revival, it's pretty difficult to shoot somebody to true death -- only legal death :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:31PM (#27156607)
    By accepting this bullet into your body, you agree that the user of this bullet, that any damage, implicit and otherwise done to you, is not responsible for any damages.
    • By accepting this bullet into your body, you agree that the user of this bullet, that any damage, implicit and otherwise done to you, is not responsible for any damages.

      Mod parent up.

  • People have made the same argument regarding CSS and the use of DeCSS. Many times I have heard "It is the fault of the media companies in that they used a very insecure lock!" I think the "bullet in the face" rationale is a lot more dramatic and illustrates precisely why the "it's their fault for being weak" argument is wrong, but I think it is important to realize that many of us here have used the very same argument in the past.

    • by mcgrew (92797) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:43PM (#27156781) Homepage Journal

      This isn't like taking a hammer to a lock and saying "the lock was too weak". This is leaving the keys in the lock - how can a lock with the keys in it stop anyone?

      CSS cannot work. it must leave the keys or the DVD won't play.

      • by jandersen (462034)

        This is leaving the keys in the lock - how can a lock with the keys in it stop anyone?

        So if you go out and leave your door unlocked it is OK for me to go inside and have a look around? And read your letters and stuff?

        Using somebody else's property without their permission is basically a form of theft (although perhaps the legal term is something else), whether it is taking their car for a drive, putting your rubbish in their bin or entering their property without permission - even if you don't take anything away. That is what all this privacy talk is all about: my space is mine, and I decide

        • by mcgrew (92797)

          So if you go out and leave your door unlocked it is OK for me to go inside and have a look around?

          No, but if you leave the key in its lock you can't consider it locked. DeCSS is a lock with its key permanently inside it. Such a lock is useless.

          • by jandersen (462034)

            No, but if you leave the key in its lock you can't consider it locked. DeCSS is a lock with its key permanently inside it. Such a lock is useless.

            That is a different scenario - when you buy a thing, naturally it is yours and there shouldn't be a lock on it in the first place and nobody has the right to tell you how to use it. I mean, if you buy a knife, it is up to you whether you want to use it to open bottles and tighten screws, even if that goes against the intentions of the seller.

            But everybody knows from context and whatever, that another person's home belongs to that person and that entering without permission is wrong.

            • by mcgrew (92797)

              I fail to see your point then. When I buy a DVD, I own that DVD. DeCSS is the "lock" that is supposed to keep it locked up from ME, not some random stranger. DeCSS is like someone else putting a padlock on YOUR home (except the key is in the lock).

        • by geekoid (135745)

          that analogy fails, epically.

          What if I was outside my house yelling that I was there and people should come over?
          Then you come over and ask if you could come in, and I said yes. Then should you be allowed in? yes. yes you should.

          Of course, if I say You need a password to get in, and you just beat me up and go in, you are trespassing.

          With computers you must let people know, in some reasonable manner, that you don't want them to join your network. That HAS to be the way they work.
          No News, is good news.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by giorgist (1208992)
      Hang on hang on ...

      Can I keep my money safe on my front lawn ?
      There is a point where you have to prove you have invested a reasonable amount of effort to protect your slef. You can't ask the goverment to protect you when you have done your part.

      There is a balance somehwere in between and depends on the society. In the US you are expected to bare arms. In japan you can use a paper door (point exadurated for dramatic effect)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Al Dimond (792444)

      The main argument for the use of DeCSS is that people have a right (regardless of what the government says) to decode the media they own. I think most people claiming that right claim it regardless of how hard it is, and regardless of disapproval for other actions of media companies in general.

      On the other hand, the hackers involved controlled a botnet and ordered a DOS attack. They justified it only as retaliation for other actions by Estonia, and in the way you describe, which is indeed a very weak argu

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Accept those analogies fail to show how computers work. The are only true if computers work like the things in the analogy.

      When a computer asks or request someone to do something, how do you blame the person doing it?
      Computers are built on the assumption that what they allow is what they intend to allow. It can't be any other way.

  • Sounds like signs of aggression to me.

    Maybe this should warrant a strongly worded letter from the UN?

    • by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb@gmai3.14l.com minus pi> on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:40PM (#27156735) Homepage Journal

      Dear Sir,

      I must tell you that I STRENUOUSLY OBJECT to the SARCASM inherent in your post.

      Please be advised that you will not receive another warning to tone down the sarcasm.

      If your sarcasm levels remain high with regards to the UN, we will be forced to send another letter EVEN MORE STRENUOUSLY OBJECTING THAN THIS ONE responding to your sarcasm.

      Have a wonderful, love-filled day.

      Yours forever,
      UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Hillgiant (916436)

      Fuckit. Let's just invade. Finish the job Regan started back in the 80's.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        close, he should of had the people in charge of trhe various agencies removed. He even had the opportunity to do so. Sadly the people behind the man didn't really care about anything after the point. Many of those same people where on Bush's team when they invaded Iraq.
        Apparently there followup hasn't got any better.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:35PM (#27156685)

    Stories like this are guaranteed to bring out the Russian nationalists... The Estonians deserved it, Nashi is a misunderstood organization, or that it was really just completely normal operation with no nefarious intent. It's always fun to read the ideological contortions used to justify crap like this.

    All I can say is that Russia is acting like a local thug - swinging around its energy club, demanding internatiol recognition and tribute from its vassal states. Not to say that this is a bad way of achieving its goal, but it certainly puts the Kibosh on some historians' argument that the fall of Russian Communism signaled the end of autocratic and thuggish regimes. Instead, this tells me that nationalism (in its ugliest form) is alive and well across the world (including in the US, btw), and that we're in for a whole lot of fun not seen since the dawn of the last century.

    Woo.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Mind you it's just a guy who happens to be a member of Nashi, not all of Nashi or the Kremlin that's responsible. But hey, guilty by association, right? Just like Obama is pals with terrorists, right?
      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        Hey, Rush is a Republican, therefore all Republicans must be loud-mouthed, ignorant bigots... yep, it works for me!
      • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @03:52PM (#27156925)

        Uhhhh.... Nashi is sponsored by the Russian government. Its explicit goal is the purging of fascist elements from Russian zones of interests. It is habitually violent, xenophobic and nationalistic. A small, scripted DDOS is actually pretty benign for Nashi's MO. If Estonia wasn't an independent country with close ties to NATO, there would have been a hell of a lot more physical violence coming from Nashi.

        And while you're right that guilt by association is a cheap way to judge people, past experience says that this operation quite likely met with approval at all levels of the organization. In that sense, it's quite like the Russian Government: very few things happen that aren't blessed or encouraged in principle by the head brass.

        • A ha, but Nashi wasn't responsible. Some dude from Nashi was.
          • by rhizome (115711)

            A ha, but Nashi wasn't responsible. Some dude from Nashi was.

            By that standard, Nashi can never be responsible for anything.

            • Not to mention that organizations would be completely useless concepts. I understand that an organization does not do anything on its own (being a theoretical concept and all), but your parent post takes that sophistry a little far.

          • by Shihar (153932)

            Right. And Nazi's were not to blame for exterminating the Jews. Some dudes that were Nazis were doing all the exterminating. Can't blame the Nazi's for that, can you?

            If Russia prosecutes the people responsible, eh, maybe I'll buy that Putin's little fascist youth gang doesn't deserve to be maligned. Of course, seeing as how Nashi, err, people who happen to be a part of Nashi regularly meet in groups to perform various illegal acts with a wink and a nod from the state and don't get prosecuted, I am willi

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @07:02PM (#27159693) Journal

          Its explicit goal is the purging of fascist elements from Russian zones of interests

          Correction: its explicit goal is the purging of anyone they label "fascist" from Russian zones of interest. For example, the entire anti-Putin Other Russia [wikipedia.org] coalition, including Kasparov, was labeled "fascists" and "extremists" by Nashi. In general, they apply the label to anyone who is in opposition to the existing regime.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Uhhhh.... Nashi is sponsored by the Russian government. Its explicit goal is the purging of fascist elements from Russian zones of interests. It is habitually violent, xenophobic and nationalistic.

          A highly nationalistic and xenophobic group has been tasked with purging fascist elements? does anyone else see the problem here?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            A highly nationalistic and xenophobic group has been tasked with purging fascist elements? does anyone else see the problem here?

            Ahh, there's a bit of a fundamental problem there... See, it's a sort of collective schizophrenia in average Russian mentality.

            On one hand, there's this traditional yearning for the "strong hand" and strong state, which is almost inevitably at least moderately nationalist; add to that the large influx of immigrants - legal and illegal - from Middle Asia states to Russia after the collapse of the USSR (the ones who "stink" and "speak funny" and "steal jobs" and "commit the most crimes" - I'm sure Americans e

            • by mjwx (966435)

              On one hand, there's this traditional yearning for the "strong hand" and strong state, which is almost inevitably at least moderately nationalist; add to that the large influx of immigrants - legal and illegal - from Middle Asia states to Russia after the collapse of the USSR (the ones who "stink" and "speak funny" and "steal jobs" and "commit the most crimes" - I'm sure Americans especially can spot the similarities here with something they're familiar with) - and that nationalism easily transforms into xe

        • Uhhhh.... Nashi is sponsored by the Russian government. Its explicit goal is the purging of fascist elements from Russian zones of interests. It is habitually violent, xenophobic and nationalistic.

          So, if Nashi's explicit goal is the purging of fascist elements, and the last sentence that I quoted is true, when will it start purging itself?
          I think you meant to say "Its stated goal" rather than "Its explicit goal".

    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @04:01PM (#27157075)

      All I can say is that Russia is acting like a local thug - swinging around its energy club ...

      Dude, if they have energy clubs, I'm not even going to try stopping them. I mean, DAMN....

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StarkRG (888216)

      Basically Russia is just doing what the US has for the past 60 years only on a smaller scale.

      • The USA is certainly also an imperialist country with long-standing world domination ambitions, but I don't recall it being involved in a large-scale genocide within the last 60, or even last 100 years.

        • by StarkRG (888216)

          You're right, only small-scale ones.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The USA is certainly also an imperialist country with long-standing world domination ambitions, but I don't recall it being involved in a large-scale genocide within the last 60, or even last 100 years.

          Look up Eisenhower's Holocaust.

    • Stories like this are guaranteed to bring out the Russian nationalists...

      Didn't take long, did it?

  • An interesting point is that when you DDoS the systems, it's not the fault of some people who want to crash it but instead the systems' for blocking their users due to technical limitations. So if I shot someone to death it's not my fault for shooting them, but theirs instead because of technical limitations of their body.

    It's the "I'm not touching you I'm not touching I'm not touching you" defense!

    By that logic, we should just go ahead and nuke Russia now. It's not really our fault that they don't have a v

    • by Em Emalb (452530)

      I was thinking it was more of the "well she wouldn't have been raped if she wasn't dressed so skimpily" defense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @04:03PM (#27157101)

    So if I shot someone to death it's not my fault for shooting them, but theirs instead because of technical limitations of their body.

    Or if the US caused the economic collapse of the Soviet Union, then it was their fault because of the the technical limitations of their communism.

    I don't like Russia and how it acts, but if you're going to talk about Russia you've got to bring in their viewpoint. The Soviet collapse and economic disaster is seen as capitalist invasion, which has been beaten back from the gates of Moscow by Putin of the KGB.

    It could have gone differently, but we were happy to let them sink, and we skipped numerous opportunities to encourage and support and demand democratic change alongside market reform. Bush let Putin do what he wanted as long as Putin backed Bush's Iraq policy. It was a poor trade and it's going to continue to cost us.

  • there is already a guy in custody who has been convicted and tried for this one in Estonia. The so called, youth movement Nashi, are publicity whores and their technological acumen is limited to shit you can learn on a farm.
  • "...if I shot someone to death it's not my fault for shooting them, but theirs instead because of technical limitations of their body."

    that made me spit coffee at the monitor...
    only johnnie cochran could pull off that defense.
    • Well... what if shootings were so ridiculously common that only a fool would venture outside their home without a bullet proof vest? So then I shoot you in the chest for no readily apparent reason but you were too stupid to put on your vest that morning. I claim to the jury that I figured you were wearing a vest so I didn't expect any harm, therefore it's your fault for forgetting your vest that day...

      Nope, still doesn't work (I really did try though). It would be impossible to convince the jury that I s

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      Lazlow: Hello caller, you're on Chatterbox.

      Caller: Yeah, hi, love the show, love hearing people's opinions. That's what made this country great: people. And opinions. And stuff. Most of all guns. I hate it when people whine about "guns kill people". Guns don't kill people, death kills people. Ask a doctor, it's a medical fact: you can't die from a bullet! You can die from a cardiac arrest or organ failure or a major hemorrhage -- a small piece of metal ain't the problem! Besides, I only use my machine gun i

  • Obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @04:11PM (#27157231) Homepage Journal

    In soviet Russia:
    1. Attack victim
    2. Blame victim
    3. ????
    4. Profit

    • In soviet Russia:
      1. Attack victim
      2. Blame victim
      3. ????
      4. Profit

      Gaaaahhh! Are you crazy? Those two memes have never been combined before! We have no idea how your post will be moderated! Is there some way you can delete it before they notice?

  • Works two ways... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uffe_nordholm (1187961) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @05:39PM (#27158489)
    If the Kremlin wants any appearance of being "fair" (please notice I am not actually accusing them of this, I am jsut hypothesising...) then they can't object if the rest of the world retaliates, and DDOSes them to such a degree they themselves choose to shut down all conenctions between Russia and the rest of the world.

    For after all, what were the Russians upset about? A statue of some WW2-hero was moved. What does the rest of the world have to get upset about? Well, a number of East-European countries were left without heating gas in the beginning of January, to such an extent that even Germany felt it. Since this seems to be a recuring "phenomenon" why shouldn't Russia find itself DDOSed off internet once a year?

    I am quite sure that Georgia (the country, not the US state) could very easily find reason to DDOS Russia. And I seem to remember Poland having been left without heating gas a few years ago, so even they would have perfect reasons to DDOS Russia.

    If the Kremlin really think DDOSing someone is the way things work in the world, they jsut might find themselves further up the creek than they would want to be... For even those countries not affected by Russias slightly beligerent foreign politics could easily turn a blind eye to any illegal matters going on inside their borders, as long as the target is inside Russia.
    • "I am quite sure that Georgia (the country, not the US state) could very easily find reason to DDOS Russia."

      They did DDOS the Russian news sites

      • Oh, really? Do you work for the Russian government by any chance?
        • No, if you know languages , you are able to watch things from both sides which enables you to capture a more truthful idea what goes on.
  • there has never been a democratic period in russia's entire history. they dont have any understanding of it.

    • Push your democracy where it belongs, let the world live a peaceful and happy life.
      • by Max_W (812974)
        They cannot do this. Try to understand their position too. The industrial countries are situated geographically in the places where there are no resources. But they do need the access to cheap resources in immense quantities. Otherwise hundreds of millions of skilled, well educated people will not be able to live on such small piece of land, which we call the 1st Industrial World. Have a look at this: http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2006/11/africa_in_perspective_map.jpg [wordpress.com]

        At the same time the satellit

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