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Kazakhstan: Is State-Sponsored Hacking Curbing Internet Freedom?

Staffers assemble by hand the Kazakh independent weekly newspaper Respublika. (Photo: Dean C.K. Cox)

A new voice arrived on Kazakhstan's media scene in June, with high hopes and much fanfare – including a promotion video featuring a striptease from editor-in-chief Guljan Yergaliyeva.

With its slick format and hard-hitting reporting, the Guljan site – named after Yergaliyeva, a veteran reporter – sought to breathe new life into Kazakhstani journalism.

It did just that – and perhaps going too far for some because within six weeks it was brought down by a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, in effect a flood of data requests that incapacitates a web site. This particular attack, which occurred July 14, put the Guljan site out of action for an entire week.

Yergaliyeva says the onslaught bore the hallmarks of a blitz carried out by professional hackers – and she suspects revenge was the motive. “This was probably an organized attack to block our site, and it was probably done by state structures who are subjected to our criticism,” Yergaliyeva told EurasiaNet.org.

To read the full story

Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.

Kazakhstan: Is State-Sponsored Hacking Curbing Internet Freedom?

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