Harassment of Independent Media Has Intensified. The Editor-In-Chief of Ulys Media Subjected to Cyber-Attack.

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The Ulys Media website has been hacked. A message appeared on the main page in which the attackers published the personal data of the project’s founder, her children, family, and photos of documents. Now the site is not functioning. 

An Orda Correspondent contacted Samal Ibraeva. She noted that it is not the first time she has faced attacks containing threats and provocations. But this course of events struck a deafining tone.

"DDoS attacks have been going on since last year. But how did the data of my minor children get into the hands of hackers? This is unthinkable. I'm going to write statements to the prosecutor's office, the KNB. We have already written about it, but there was no reaction. I can't know who it is, but I'll tell you for sure, this is already too much. We need to figure out who is doing this,"

The project manager said alarmed.

And there is something to worry about. Samal Ibraeva assures that she has already gone through many surnames in her head due to the Media’s expression of criticism. She believes the Kazakhstani special services were involved.

"New Kazakhstan? Apparently, the KNB forgot to write instructions on how to build it. After all, who else can supply criminals with data that has not been published anywhere before: photos and documents, birth certificates, certificates and so on. Or is it still not the KNB - then why are the employees of this encrypted structure silent, what kind of national security do they protect? I am a citizen of this country, how can I work if my family is in danger? Here everyone needs to be on the alert and it is worth understanding what is happening. Everything is done according to the principle: we press a few media outlets and others will be afraid. Cynicism of the highest standard – the president says one thing, and his subordinates are doing something completely different. This is already the edge,"

Samal Ibraeva added.

The site's techies are already working on its restoration. Their defence has previously repelled DDoS attacks. The media source plans to continue its work.

How did it happen?

We contacted the technical director of the Kazakhstani IT company, Alexey Krasilov. He assures that it was a specific hacking of the site. There are several ways to do this.

"To put it simply, there could be vulnerabilities on the site itself. Hackers uploaded their administrative panel and used it to make changes on the server with administrator rights. Hacking through virtual hosting is unlikely, since there are few problems with security there. The most likely outcome remains: the site was hacked through another one, which was also stored on the same server with them,"

said Alexey Krasilov.

Thus, if the attackers gained access to one of the resources on the server, they immediately received "admin" rights to all linked sites.

Attacks on the KZ segment

The pressure on journalists has not subsided since last year. Incidents, where the attackers move from words to actions, stand out vividly. For example, the recent arson of Dinara Egeubayeva's car.

Or what has happened with the editor-in-chief and founder Orda.kz Gulnara Bazhenova. Samal Ibraeva believes the root of the issue stems from the same place. She calls for paying attention to the general problem.  

Since July 21, 2022, the editorial board of Orda.kz also encountered technical problems on the site. The administrative panel did not open. The site worked intermittently. The influx of bots in the comments under the publications on social networks forced the algorithms of social networks to keep a close eye on our pages. Orda.kz’s editorial board was forced to close the comments. The Orda.kz pages received a "shadow ban" on Instagram and Facebook.

But the biggest battle was for the site. The Orda website.kz was not available until August 15, 2022, due to DDoS attacks. The server could not withstand such an influx of requests. In order not to stop working and continue to inform our readers, we switched to the Yandex.Zen platform. At the same time, information appeared on anonymous telegram channels that the site Orda.kz was attacked by the Nazarbayev family for an article about the ex-president of Kazakhstan.

Unfortunately, our site is still subject to attacks every day. Messages allegedly from government departments with files infected with a Trojan virus have also appeared in our mail. Our anonymous bot turned into a collection of pornographic images mixed with threats. 

The press service of JSC "State Technical Service" announced that there were multiple failures that disrupted the work of civil services and the Kaznet were the result of hackers’ targeted sabotage at the end of 2022. 

Original Author: Alexander Smolin

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. For accuracy please refer to the original piece in Russian.

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