Russia takes cyber-swipe at Illini

Russia takes cyber-swipe at Illini

CHAMPAIGN — University of Illinois officials are looking into claims made by some Russian media outlets that a Crimea-related cyberattack originated from here.

The Voice of Russia, a Russian government-run media outlet, claimed on Sunday that the hacking of websites related to the referendum held in Crimea on Sunday came from the U.S.

What's this all about? Ask Tom Kacich here

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Monday declaring the Crimea region of Ukraine to be an independent state, according to news services.

The Voice of Russia described Sunday’s hackings as the “denial-of-service” type of attacks.

“Our IT safety experts managed to find out where those attacks came from. It is University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. The most powerful scanning of servers before the attack was carried out exactly from there,” unnamed sources were cited as saying in the state-run media report.

Messages for the university’s chief information officer were forwarded to campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler. Kaler said the university did not receive any notices from the Russian government or U.S. government regarding the alleged cyberattacks.

“The CITES people are looking into it,” she said, referring to the Campus Information Technologies and Education Services, which oversees computer security at the UI.

Kaler said she could not discuss details of the investigation or how long it would take.

The Voice of Russia report incorrectly put Champaign-Urbana’s population at 37,000 and stated there are “signs that one of the headquarters of the National Security Agency is situated there.”

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787 wrote on March 18, 2014 at 8:03 am

These lies out of the Kremlin are nothing compared to:

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep it".

"A family of four will save $2500 a year".

"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor".

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 18, 2014 at 8:03 am

One article which I read indicated that the atttack was a DDOS ( Distributed Denial of Service ) attack.  That would require more than two persons, or systems.  In the U.S., such an attack can be a federal crime.  A protest would fit into such a scenario like the 99% Attack on the White House website in the past. 

If an attack did originate from the U of I against another country; the feds would be investigating it with the university's cooperation unless the attack was sanctioned.  It is hard to believe that the only security is CITES.  What corporations on campus have access to the system?  Is there a vetting system in place for employees, and students who have access to the system?  If nothing else; the accusation should raise flags regarding who has availability, and motives to committ attacks.  A domestic attack could happen instead of an international attack.

Of course, Russia could have made the whole thing up to discredit the U.S.  Yeah, that is what happened...  C-U combined has a larger population than Urbana's 37,000.  There are only one medium size, and one small airport or air field in C-U instead of three.  The NSA does not have personnel stationed in C-U. 

Champaign Guest wrote on March 18, 2014 at 9:03 am

Well, there is (which I hadn't known about until a Google search.)


Sid Saltfork wrote on March 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Thank you.  It does list Lab Security besides CITES.  I did not find any information regarding the vetting of employees, or students on the site though.  Not all employees, or students are U.S. nationals.  If an attack did originate locally, there could be an abundance of motives.

jdmac44 wrote on March 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

A DDOS attack is formed by the use of trojan horse malware that seizes control of thousands of infected PC's and then directs the combined bandwidth power of their internet connections to overwhelm their target with data packets, effectively shutting down their ability to use the internet; like drinking from a firehose.  This can be done by one person who has amassed an army of what are called zombie computers, infected by these trojans.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Your expertise in this field is much more than mine.  I still am curious about the vetting system regarding personnel.  Several corporations at the Research Park hire U of I grads.  Could the attack claimed by Russia have originated via a corporate employee, or a U of I student with access?  If the means to committ the attack are locally available, could it have been committed by an individual?