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Vladimir Putin's Cyber Warriors

The Kremlin's Ham-handed Effort to Squelch Online Dissent

Courtesy Reuters

Early on Tuesday morning, my Web site, Agentura.ru, which covers the activities of Russia's secret services, was shut down by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. My technical staff and I were forced to reset the site's server every 15 minutes, but it didn't help: the site was down for the most of the day.

This came later than I expected: many independent Russian news and analysis Web sites faced attacks and disruptions on Sunday, the day of Russia's parliamentary elections, in which the party favored by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, United Russia, suffered an embarrassing setback at the polls, even after engaging in widespread voting fraud.

In total, 14 sites were victims of DDoS attacks, including those of the radio station Ekho Moskvy, the newspaper Kommersant, and Golos, the country's only independent election watchdog. Those Web sites were attacked as early as 6:40 on Sunday morning, according to Alexei Venediktov,

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