The US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website is operating normally on 29 April following a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack thought to have originated in Belarus. The station’s Belarus-language website at www.svaboda.org carries an item date 1609 gmt on 28 April headlined (in English) “We are back!”, explaining to readers the details of the attack.
The article also lists a number of websites also hit by DDOS attacks in the last two days, including the pro-democracy Charter-97 organisation, the Polish government-funded Belsat TV channel and the website of opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich.
On 28 April, an REF/RL press release revealed that the radio station’s website was receiving some 50,000 fake hits per second as part of the DDOS attack, causing their website to appear unavailable to readers. The attack also knocked out pages of eight other language services, including the Persian-language Radio Farda
Charter97 also noted that their website was under attack, telling readers that they could continue to access their content via WAP-enabled mobile phones at wap.charter97.org.
A Distributed Denial of Service attack occurs when multiple computers flood the servers of a particular website or websites in order to prevent it from serving pages to intended users. By forcing the server to process many thousand of requests, the website will appear unavailable to legitimate web traffic.
Attackers will often use multiple “zombie” computers infected with viruses, triggered at a set date and time to facilitate the DDOS, enabling relatively few people to flood a site with a high volume of web traffic.
(Source: Media observation by BBC Monitoring 29 Apr 08)