Monday, November 21, 2016

DDoS Attacks And Coup Attempt During October 2016 Montenegro Elections

During the October 16, 2016 elections in Montenegro, the website of the pro-NATO ruling party and several other media and political NGO websites were subject to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. In tandem, misinformation campaigns were conducted across various platforms including social media. Analysis of the event indicate that certain Russian media outlets were involved, and investigations showed that an international group that included Montenegrin, Russian and Serbian nationals were planning a coup that included the assassination of the Montenegrin Prime Minister. It is possible that the Russian government was involved in these activities, which show the possible vectors for a foreign power to influence an election.

The Montenegro elections case shows, as an example, of what happens when Russian interests in an election outcome, and dissatisfaction with a pro-Western agenda, intersect. Furthermore, the Montenegro case shows how this intersection can result in cyber-attacks designed to achieve Russian national interests and how direct attacks can be combined with social media (or fake media) misinformation campaigns designed to affect public opinion.