Apr 29, 2008 : Radio Free Europe Sites Back Online

Apr 29, 2008 - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (http://www.rferl.org) announced on Monday that several of its websites were hit with a crippling denial of service attack, leaving its services unavailable for more than two days before being brought back online the evening of April 28.

According to reports on The Globe and Mail, the attack was aimed mainly at the site of Radio Free Europe's Belarus service, but websites serving Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia and Croatia also were also affected.

"The massive and coordinated attack, which began on the morning of April 26 as journalists were preparing coverage of protests in Minsk marking the 22nd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, knocked the service offline for more than two full days," says the organization in a written statement on its website.

However, it seems that around 22 Belarusian websites helped propagate reports on the "rally of thousands of people protesting the plight of uncompensated Chernobyl victims and a government decision to build a new nuclear power station," by hosting content being posted by the RFE/RL's journalists while the network's websites were disabled.

Alexander Lukashuk, the head of the radio's Belarus service, says a similar attack took place the same day one year ago but lasted only hours and did not hit services in other languages.

RFE/RL says it has been a frequent target of DOS attacks, but the latest incident was unprecedented in scale. At the attack's height, RFE/RL websites were receiving up to 50,000 fake hits every second.

Although RFE/RL says on its website that it is still unclear who was responsible for this incident, it believes the government of authoritarian Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko could've been behind the attack.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, nonprofit corporation that receives funding from the US government and was established in 1949 to spread "pro-Western news and promote democratic values and institutions in countries behind the Iron Curtain."

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