Key Russian websites hacked, down on Election Day

Russians voted to elect the lower chamber of the Parl, in what is widely seen as a test of legitimacy of the upcoming presidential vote in March.

Moscow: Popular Russian media websites, the major LiveJournal social network and the website of the country`s biggest independent election watchdog, were inaccessible for several hours on Sunday due to hacking attempts that their employees said was an attempt to jam information on parliamentary elections.

"The attack on the website on election day is apparently tied to an attempt to publish information about violations," Aleksei Venediktov, chief editor of the Ekho Moskvy radio, wrote in his Twitter blog.

Twitter and Facebook remained operational on Sunday and the attacked media organization moved their election coverage onto those platforms.

Russians voted on Sunday to elect the lower chamber of the Parliament, the Duma, in what is widely seen as a test of legitimacy of the upcoming presidential vote in March, which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is set to win.

Websites of Forbes Russia, Bolshoi Gorod and New Times magazines, news portal, Golos election watchdog and its website that was supposed to map vote fraud were down throughout most of Sunday.

These media organizations and the watchdog had pledged to report voting violations from all over Russia live.

Independent and opposition media, as well as the LiveJournal social network that has become the main political discussion venue in Russia, are often subjected to hacking attacks, though the Sunday assault was the most concerted and broad.


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