The website of news channel Russia Today has been hit by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
In a tweet, hacktivist group AntiLeaks said it was "behind the DDoS attack on RT_com" and included a hashtag relating to the concluding case of the Russian band Pussy Riot.
Russia Today said that its "IT team [were] working hard to keep [the] site up" and encouraged following its Twitter feed for breaking news. It said in a story that the RT.com website went down for more than three hours on Friday morning in a worldwide outage after a massive DDoS attack, and was still experiencing technical difficulties.
Paul Lawrence, vice president of international operations at Corero Network Security, told SC Magazine that he was not sure where the Russia Today data centres were located, but said he was surprised that it did not have adequate protection in place to prevent such attacks.
He said: “It went down for a while but it now appears to be okay. It is hard to do much analysis on a DDoS attack as the attack proxies their IP addresses so they block where they are coming from, so without knowing that, it is hard to know if the attack is coming in from the front or the back end.
“A lot of attacks also come from botnets where you may see IP addresses, but you will not see the people who are behind it. This type of attack has moved on from kids to cyber criminals and people with a political agenda so it is more of a collaborative affair.
“The thing is, the Russia Today IT team would realise that they are a target, as they have a political viewpoint and agenda. You would guess that the Russia Today risk profile is quite high.”
The attack came as members of the band were found to be guilty of acting with religious hatred, after they performed a ‘punk prayer' in protest against the Russian Orthodox Church leader's support of President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Christ the Saviour cathedral in February.
The three members of the band were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and enmity, with the judge saying they showed flagrant disregard for the church parishioners and the fundamentals of the Orthodox faith.
AntiLeaks has been actively attacking the WikiLeaks website this week. WikiLeaks said on its Twitter feed: “Anti-WikiLeaks group is claiming to be behind the DDoS takedown of Russia's international broadcast network, RT, which has been supportive.”