Ustream Service Downed By Russian Attackers During Protests
May 10, 2012

Ustream Service Downed By Russian Attackers During Protests

Ustream, the online video streaming service, succumbed to a denial-of-service (DDOS) attack on Wednesday due to DDOS attacks that targeted Russian opposition channels on Ustream.

"Ustream is inaccessible due to a large scale DDOS attack targeting Russian opposition channels on Ustream," the company wrote on its Twitter account.

Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable said that this is the third DDOS attack in the last few months, specifically targeting Russian citizen journalists on Ustream.

"This is an actively managed attack of a scale we have never seen that continues to change and iterate as we counter," he told Gigaom.

A spokesperson for the company said that Ustream has accelerated the development and launch of the Russian language translation in light of the DDOS attack on Wednesday.

Hunstable told CNET in a telephone interview that this attack was not typical of what Ustream has seen before.

"We get DDoS attacks all the time and we fight them off. It's not a big deal. But this is adaptive beyond anything we've seen," he told the news agency.

He said it took engineers 10 hours to get the site back up again for its users.  The attackers used protocols like UDP and TCP/IP, and the requests were coming from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iran.

"What we saw today were systematic attempts, method after method, up to seven methods," Hunstable told CNET.

He said he would not speculate whether the Russian government was behind the attack, but that he is certain Russian citizen journalists were individually targeted.

"We are in contact with many of the government agencies across the world," he told CNET. "Ustream is back up and running and we put the Russian protests back up on our front page."

The attackers used 25,000 servers, based mostly in Russia, to kick Ustream's 55 million users offline.

This latest attack, as well as a November 6 and a January 6 attack, have been the only attacks that have been able to keep the online video streaming service offline.

Hunstable told The Daily Beast that the attacks were "highly organized" and "so adaptive," and the attackers used seven methods "back to back to back to back."  He said it was the "most adaptive denial of service that I've ever seen."

The Russian citizen journalist, ReggaMortis1, is now featured on the video streaming site's front page.  Hunstable said the attack could lead to a full-fledged Russian Ustream.

“We´re going to huddle up late tonight and take a step back and figure out what we can do differently,” the CEO told VentureBeat. “I told my guys, I want us to roll out a Russian Ustream tomorrow.”

After saying this, Hunstable made good on his promise, and Ustream now has a Russian channel with localized and translated content.

Demonstrators were protesting before and after the inauguration of President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, leading to riots across the country.  Some protesters claim that Putin was reelected due to election fraud.