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Cyberwar unleashed [Mercury, The (South Africa)]
[March 17, 2014]

Cyberwar unleashed [Mercury, The (South Africa)]

(Mercury, The (South Africa) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Kiev: With cyberattacks launched against Crimean separatists, the Kremlin and Nato, the ground war may not have started in Ukraine, but computer warfare is raging.

In recent days - and with increasing intensity yesterday - a virtual war has commenced in the countries at the centre of the worst East-West diplomatic crisis since the end of the Cold War.

The "soldiers" of this war don't wear uniforms and don't necessarily swear allegiance to a particular country.

Their chosen weapon is the "denial of service" attack designed to overwhelm web servers and make their websites unusable.

The attacks accelerated as soon as voting booths opened yesterday for the referendum in Crimea on whether the region would join Russia.

Attack The site created by separatist groups to monitor the vote was blocked for an hour, with the pro-Russian government accusing hackers from an American university, Urbana-Champaign in Illinois, of being behind the attack.

A few hours earlier, Nato reported an attack on its servers by Ukrainian hackers using the name "CyberBerkut" that shut down three of its websites.

"Berkut" is a reference to the riot police unit that Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych used before being deposed.

In a message on its site, the group said it would "not allow a Nato presence on the territory of our homeland".

A little more than 24 hours earlier, the Russian Kremlin, foreign ministry, central bank and press agency Ria Novosti were targeted.

Cyberattacks have remained a covert tactic, with governments and international organisations refusing to admit involvement.

Neither Russia nor Nato has admitted to being involved in cyber attacks. - Sapa-AFP The Mercury (c) 2014 Independent Newspapers (Pty) Limited. All rights strictly reserved. Provided by, an company

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