Archive for August 4th, 2016

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Kyivstar suffers massive TDoS attack

August 4, 2016

Over the past few days, the Kyivstar mobile telephone operator has been somewhat inconsistent – resulting in a rather peaceful few days for the blog.

Part of the reason for this is on-going is preparatory work for 4G throughout August, as the company forewarned.  It also forewarned of work in Odessa regarding new transmission equipment in July.

TDOS

However, on 3rd August Kyivstar was subjected to what it described as a massive TDoS attack, the outcome of which left Odessa completely without Kyivstar coverage.  At the time of writing, Kyivstar has yet to mitigate the TDoS attack by redirecting, scrubbing, and blocking offending source traffic.

TDoS attacks, no differently from DDoS attacks, do not simply happen.  They require a degree of either IT sophistication or manual coordination in order to overload a system.

As there is thus far no evidence to be found on the social networks organising mass participation in such a TDoS attack, and neither does there appear to be anything within the “dark net” – other than those advertising their abilities when it comes to DDOS and TDOS (many of which advertise in Russian) – it seems far more likely to be “bot” instigated.

There seems to be free VoIP and SIP software readily available capable of facilitating TDoS.  Which programmes are currently en vogue who knows – it used to be Asterisk, but technology surpasses the retarded knowledge of the blog so easily.

TDoS attacks are not particularly new across “eastern Europe” despite not getting the same attention that DDoS attacks do.  Likewise, on the “dark side” the (Russian language) advertisments offering DDOS and TDoS services are also not new either.

The question regarding this TDoS attack however is not the how, it is a question of motive.

Is it an attack aimed at criminal outcomes?  A matter of flooding the system to the degree it becomes impossible to cope with the amount of transactions going through the system, thus allowing for all manner nefariousness?

Perhaps it is simply a malicious tech nerd testing abilities to successfully carry out a TDOS attack?

Maybe somebody with sufficient ability who has a grudge against Kyivstar?  A disgruntled former customer?

Perhaps it is competitors in the marketplace keeping the system down long enough for customers to swap service providers, or sew the seeds of doubt in the reliability of the provider sufficiently to at least consider swapping?

Is it a Kremlin inspired attack, similar to the attack earlier in the year which hacked the Ukrainian power grid?  If so to what end?  To inflict commercial losses/damage upon a major Ukrainian company?  A “psyop” – or part of one – to remind the Ukrainians of Kremlin technological capabilities?  If so, a dangerous game, for the IT realm is one of the few in which Ukraine is quite capable of matching Russia.

Is it perhaps, unlikely as it seems, simply an excuse floated by Kyivstar for a technological fumble whilst carrying out its declared works?  Perhaps, but the Kyivstar signal did not disappear on the blog telephone, thus the issues seem related to the operating system rather than transmission.

What damage to the system, if any?

Rumour from reliable sources within Odessa state that the fibre optic cables of Kyivstar were deliberately severed – explaining no service in Odessa, rather than severely restricted service in other cities due to the TDoS.

Is this therefore a deliberate and coordinated attack on Kyivstar systems and “hard” infrastructure?  Are “pre-takeover” messages being sent the old fashioned way?  It seems unlikely.

Perhaps Kyivstar is capable of tracing and identifying the source of this TDoS attack – but if it is, will it publicly attribute the attack?

Maybe this is not as interesting as it appears prima facie, simply due to the fact that DDoS often gets the headlines whilst TDoS rarely does?

Whatever the case, this is not something that happens every day – so identifying the motivation is important.

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Planes, trains and automobiles – Odessa

August 4, 2016

Although it is a tale that probably hasn’t had the impact expected from Misha Saakashvili inspired events, and despite some highly questionable deals regarding the new Odessa International Airport Terminal between the Saakashvili administration and dodgy businessmen, matters regarding Odessa airport certainly appear to be going the right way.

Upon arrival, Governor Saakashvili managed to force out the Ihor Kolomoisky aligned (and thus MAU airline friendly) bureaucrat that effectively – indeed very effectively – managed to preserve the almost 100% monopoly Mr Kolomoisky’s MAU had over flights into and from Odessa airport – both national and international flights.

Having then made Odessa airport “Open Skies” – Odessa and Lviv being the only two Ukrainian airports that are currently – several new international and a new internal carriers have appeared at Odessa airport.  The 3rd August seeing yet another carrier moving one step closer to arrival.  Air Berlin may very well be flying Odessa to Paderborn from 2017.

The slowness of the story naturally has gathered little media impact – as slow stories generally don’t.  Nevertheless Governor Saakashvili can count this achievements as a win, for to be sure if he hadn’t taken on the challenge nothing would have changed.

However, his statements regarding the commissioning of the new Odessa terminal have been many.  It was first due to open in March 2016 – then the autumn – and now the year end.  The terminal has been built and the external building works completed.  There is a watertight finished exterior.

Internally however, the terminal is no more progressed today than it was when the foundations were first poured years ago.  There is a tremendous amount of work to do if it is to open by the year end – thus to be blunt, it seems very unlikely unless Odessa is given the Eurovision hosting city title which may then add some urgency.

Further, there is little point to a new terminal without necessary runway and associated groundworks – and the runway, like all Ukrainian runways is owned by the State as all are designated dual purpose civil/military.  Ergo Gov UA will have to find the cash for the runway works to make the new terminal anything more than an interesting structure.

Nevertheless, the new airport terminal is certainly far more advanced than the $4.5 billion road from Odessa to Reni (and beyond into Romania).  This is a project that will take several years – presuming the funding over those years flows.  That it is a necessary infrastructure link between the southwest of the oblast and the city perhaps is often eclipsed by the international theme of an infrastructure link connecting Romania to Odessa.  It is, to be clear, as much a political road as it is an economic road.

However, whilst the Governor and Air Berlin will dominate the local media headlines, wily parliamentarian (and uncrowned Tsar of Bessarabia/southwestern Odessa oblast) Anton Kisse was quietly progressing infrastructure projects of his own within his fiefdom.

On 2nd August Mr Kisse, together with Ukrainian Ambassador to Moldova Ivan Gnatishin, Vice-Chairman of the Odessa Regional Council Yury Dimchoglo, and Vladislav Fateev of Ukrzaliznytsia, met with Deputy Minister of Transport and Road Economy of Moldova Sergey Bucataru, and director of the Moldavian Railways, Yuri Topal.

UA_MD

The aim of the meeting, to rehabilitate the Berezino (Ukraine) to Bessarabyaska (Moldova) rail track and return it to former glories as part of the regional infrastructure.

This 16 kilometer section of forsaken rail track would benefit both Moldova, de facto Transnistria through which it passes, and Odessa oblast – predominantly Ismail.  The port of Ismail, as well as the Tatutinsky region both likely to benefit from the ease of moving Moldavian grains for export, and also the movement of other goods and people.

It would also create another rail link to Bucharest and Sophia, changing at the Moldavian capital, Chisinau – and given the high ethnic concentrations from both Bulgarian and Romanian nations in the southwest of Odessa oblast, it is no bad thing for the local community either.

Matters seem likely to progress in September, and to be sure the 14 kilometers of track in Ukraine, and 2 kilometers in Moldova, would not take long to bring to working order.  Perhaps 6 weeks.

The estimated cost is about $10 million – which the EBRD has stated historically that it would be willing to fund – indeed it has said so on several occasions in the past.  Perhaps the only question is whether they are still willing to fund it – or not.

Undoubtedly, should funding be given, this rail link will be completed long before the Odessa-Reni road.  The question is whether it will be completed before Odessa Airport Terminal (which should have already been completed).  The answer, most likely will be – yes.

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