(Reuters) – Hackers have tried to crash a vast network of Web cameras which Vladimir Putin has ordered to allay fears of vote-rigging in the March presidential election, a deputy minister said on Friday.
Putin, facing the biggest protests of his 12-year rule after a disputed December parliamentary election the opposition said was rigged, ordered 182,000 Web cameras to be installed at the 91,000 polling stations.
As early voting began in the most desolate corners of Russia for sailors and reindeer herders, Putin inspected a polling station in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk where the first two cameras went live on the www.webvybory2012.ru website.
The cameras will stream footage of ballot boxes and vote-counting during the election to the site, which Putin’s supporters hope will take the sting out of allegations of ballot-stuffing by authorities.
But Deputy Communications Minister Ilya Massukh told Reuters that the system, operated by state-controlled Rostelecom, had already fallen victim to regular distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS) originating in Russia.
“We are launching this site ahead of time in order to understand the nature of the threats,” Massukh said. During a DDOS attack a network is bombarded by so many requests that it eventually crashes.
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