Hackers Attack Websites of Russian Newspaper

A cyber attack on Friday paralyzed the website of a popular Russian independent newspaper, days after similar attacks knocked out Russia's most popular blogging site.

The Novaya Gazeta newspaper's website went down early Friday after a massive denial-of-service attack, Dmitry Muratov, the newspaper's editor, told The Associated Press.

The attacks involve a flood of computers all trying to connect to a single site at the same time, which overwhelm the computer server that handles the traffic.

Novaya Gazeta's website typically receives 70,000 to 120,000 unique visitors every day, Muratov said. But the attack was so strong that at one point the website got 70,000 visit requests every 14 seconds.

Muratov said the attacks aim to "discredit the public platforms which express alternative points of views." He said he believed the attacks are linked to Russia's 2011 parliamentary election and its presidential election in 2012.

Live Journal, Russia's most popular blogging site, suffered sustained outage earlier this week. President Dmitry Medvedev, an avid blogger, on Thursday condemned that attack as "outrageous and illegal."

Russian opposition leader Ilya Yashin also linked the attacks to the upcoming vote.

"It's quite possible that those people who have ordered the attack are planning the complete crash of Live Journal in the heat of the 2011-2012 election campaign," he wrote on his blog Friday.

The onslaught on Live Journal started with an attack on the blog of anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, said a statement from Maria Garnayeva, an analyst with the Russian computer security company Kaspersky Lab.

Novaya Gazeta quoted Kaspersky as saying the attack on the newspaper and on Live Journal originated from the same source. The lab was not immediately available for further comment.