Pro-Kremlin News Network Russia Today Attacked by Hackers

Hacker group AntiLeaks claimed responsibility for the action, which was timed to coincide with the network's coverage of the Bradley Manning trial.

MOSCOW -- The pro-Kremlin English-language TV station Russia Today suffered a hacking attack on its website, which coincided with the station’s reporting on the trial of U.S. soldier Bradley Manning and its celebration of becoming “the first international news agency to reach 1 billion views on YouTube.”

The attack came late on June 3, disrupting the operation of the channel’s website for five hours. Later, the group AntiLeaks claimed responsibility for the disturbance. Earlier that day, Russia Today reported on the trial of Manning, who is accused of leaking a huge cache of classified U.S. government documents to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. AntiLeaks self-identify as a group of hackers who strongly oppose the mission statement and activities of Wikileaks.

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The hackers’ attack soured Russia Today’s celebration of hitting the 1 billion-viewers mark on YouTube, something that AntiLeaks acknowledged in its tweet saying, “I'm sorry I spoiled your 1 Billion Views' Special Program parading around a bunch of terrorists."

The AntiLeaks group launched a similar DDoS attack -- "distributed denial-of-service attack," the technical name for a hacking attack intended to make a computer service unavailable to its intended users -- during the premiere of The Julian Assange Show on Russia Today a year ago.

Russia Today made headlines last week when it announced that it had signed U.S. TV megaveteran Larry King to host a political talk show on the station. Later, King clarified that the station had only obtained rights to his show Larry King Now. “RT has not hired me,” he said in a statement published on his Facebook page. “They have licensed my shows, and will air them.”