Access to Russian video hosting site RuTube was restored on Wednesday after a three-day hiatus, after a cyberattack demanded the attention of an expert cybersecurity team and raised questions about the service’s durability.
Moscow has long sought to improve its domestic internet infrastructure, even disconnecting itself from the global internet during a test last summer, but has stepped up its technological solutions since the West began imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine needs become more urgent.
On Wednesday night, RuTube’s usual homepage resurfaced with video content and had been inaccessible since Monday morning, the anniversary of Russia’s celebration of its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
During the outage, a text message on the site read: “Attention! Technical work is underway on the site. The site is under attack. The situation is under control. User data saved.”
RuTube said on Wednesday it had hired several different experts to investigate the attack and repair the damage, including a team from Russian cybersecurity firm Positive Technologies’ Expert Security Center, which it said had already worked on the issues two days.
The Vedomosti newspaper quoted Positive Technologies director Alexei Novikov as saying that RuTube was hit with a targeted attack aimed at disabling the service, and given the scale of the attack, it could take up to three weeks to investigate and respond to the incident.
“We have to master the basic toolkit that hackers are using,” Denis Goidenko, head of Information Security Threat Response at Positive Technologies, said in a video message on Telegram earlier Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of work to be done because RuTube’s infrastructure is huge and complex.”
RuTube said that 99.5% of the video library is available for users to watch, but the search and comment functions still need to be restored.
The episode highlighted Russia’s reliance on YouTube, which has about 90 million monthly users in the country, and provided clues that Moscow has not yet blocked U.S. services, a fate that has befell other foreign social media platforms.
Anton Gorelkin, Deputy Chairman of the Information Policy Committee of the Parliament of the State Duma, stressed the importance of RuTube being able to withstand future hacking attacks.
“I think the company will draw conclusions from this story and seriously reconsider the approach to securing its infrastructure,” Gorelkin wrote on Telegram. “We need our own strong national video hosting site.”
© Thomson Reuters 2022