Cyberwar – The Cyber Iron Curtain: Now Kyrgyzstan – Part 1

Fig 1. The new Cyber Version of the Iron Curtain

Large scale DDos attacks have been underway against Kyrgyzstan Internet service providers (ISPs) for several days. This further establishes the emergence of the ‘Cyber Iron-Curtain’ as shown in the schematic diagram above. For examples, the key national web server site Asiainfo.kg and the Kyrgyzstan official domain registration service Domain.kg have only been available intermittently from Jan 18th 09. We are able to confirm the ‘usual suspects’ of well known organized cybercrime servers have been involved, (see Part 2 for details). Although upstream providers in Russia and Kazakhstan have ironically been stating they are refusing to pass traffic because of the scale of the attacks.

The reasons for the cyber attacks are sketchy, as the Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev is seen as pro Kremlin. However, as a coincidence which is similar to DDos of Lithuanian web sites last year, when the Lithuanian Prime Minister visited the US. President Bakiyev is to visit Moscow on February 3, to discuss the extension of Russian investment in the Kyrgyz energy sector and Russia are pressurizing Kyrgyzstan to close the US military air base used to support operations in Afghanistan. (Sydney Morning Herald - news link)

Another view is to effectively neutralize the recently unified opposition United People’s Movement (UPM). In its founding charter, the coalition seeks a new political system for Kyrgyz and the removal of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev from office. Complaining of widespread corruption, increasing human rights abuse, and the deterioration of living standards, the UPM is planning a series of protests for February and March.

The Kyrgyz state general prosecutor has launched criminal investigations involving at least four opposition leaders in recent weeks. This past weekend, opposition leader Omurbek Tekebayev, chairperson of the Ata Meken Party, was arrested on vague weapons charges as he headed for a meeting in the northwestern Talas region of Kyrgyz. He has since been released.

The cyberwar attacks on Kyrgyzstan have also by confirmed on IntelFusion and Information Warfare Monitor describing three out of the four Kyrgyz ISPs having been taken down, e.g. AS8511 ASIAINFO Autonomous System Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyzstan official domain registration service AS8511 ASIAINFO Autonomous System Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Hence from a ‘Cyber Iron-Curtain’ perspective there is now provided a ‘control at will’ by Russia of communication and increasing cyber influence over its former Soviet satellites, a modern parallel to Winston Churchill’s post second world war description of the Soviet sphere of influence. Separately, the blocking of these major websites in Kyrgyzstan suggests that we should probably move this country up the relative scale of importance for the monitoring cyberwar around the world.

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