Russian Monitor suffers heavy-duty cyber attack


The so-called "Troll Factory" in St Petersburg
The so-called "Troll Factory" in St Petersburg

The influential media outlet Russian Monitor has suffered a damaging cyber attack which led to the platform being temporarily shut down.

Russian Monitor is one of the main media outlets for the Russian opposition. It has over 1 million unique visitors every month and 3 million visitors outside Russia 

The Chief Editor of Russian Monitor is Kiev-based French political scientist Olivier Védrine who is a leading member of the Russian opposition and a board member of New Europeans.

Commenting on the attack, Olivier Védrine said:

"We still have no idea what provoked the attack. 

No one has claimed responsibility nor have we received any demands or complaints concerning any article or any other content posted on our site."

The attack happened on Wednesday 18 December and the platform was down for 36 hours before technicians were able to restore service.

Russian Monitor is one of the organisations listed by the FAN media outlet - the so-called - "Troll Factory", which is used by Russia to call out “anti-government” media outlets. 

An internal incident report suggests that the attack was originated by a powerful organisation, possibly a foreign state.

Commenting further, Mr Védrine said:

"I welcome the fact that Russian Monitor has come under attack, because it shows that we are making an impact.

If it's true that the Russian state is behind this attack, it simply goes to show that we are doing something right.

It would be one more example - if any more were needed  -of Putin's obsession with shutting down dissent.

That is exactly the kind of behaviour that the Russian Monitor was set up to track down and expose."

Numerous reports of attempts by the Putin government to interfere with media outlets and democratic processes outside Russia have been evidenced in recent years.

In the UK, the British public is waiting for the publication of a report by the Intelligence and Security Committee into Russian interference in the Brexit referendum.

The report requires the permission of Prime Minister Boris Johnson before it can be published.

So far this authorisation has not been forthcoming.

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