“My crime is a part of my curiosity. I am a hacker... You can block me, bu you can’t stop all of us.”
(from the world famous international text “the Manifesto of a Hacker”)
As it is known, Cossacks has a special place in Russian history. Cossacks, who had a free and adventurous spirit and didn’t get well with the authority, were often used in the tasks such as protecting border zones. In particular, they contributed greatly in conquest Central Asia and Siberia by Russia.
With the spread of the Internet and enterin the digital age, the whole world has met a new phenomenon which has a rebellious spirit just like Kazakhs: Russian Hackers. The metaphor “cyber Cossacks of the digital age” is made for the Russian hackers.
The world heard the name of the Russian hacker in 1989 for the first time. Hackers using connections with the Chaos Computer Club in West Germany(the Berlin Wall wasn’t destroyed yet) sold codes belonged to American State and companies to the KGB. This was the first cyber-espionage incident of the history.
Dmitry Sklyarov, among the most famous Russian hackers known, succeeded to be one of thow who acquired a real reputation about computer security. Russian citizen Dmitry Sklyarov attending a cyber security conference in Las Vegas FBI on June 17, 2001, found FBI officials in the face at end of the conference. During the conference, Dmitry Sklyarov, who explained Adobe’s PDF encryption logic and narrated how to overcome this password protection, became the first person convicted of violating the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Agreement. Dmitry, held in America for a time, returned to his country on parole in December 2001. One of the most interesting developments about this incident was that, later, Dimitry worked as a advisor about encryption for Adobe’s.
The most recent event of Russian hackers, in other words "cyber-Cossacks”, was getting hold of 6.5 million password belonging to Linkedln social network site appealing to the business world in recent weeks. Prior to this, in November 2011, it is known that they held a virtual attack to the water system serving the state of Illinois of the U.S. Remotely infiltrating the computer system that controls water pumps, they broke pumps through rapid opening and closing, thus they left portion of the state of Illinois without water for a while.
Russian hackers took their places in the history as invisible virtual soldier of the first cyber war, as well. Major damage was done to websites of Estonian state institutions and ministries, banks, newspapers and TV sites through destroying by cyber Cossacks in response of the decision of removal a bronze statue of Red Army Soldier located in a military cemetery in Talinn in the capital of Estonia by Estonian government on April 27, 2007.
During that period, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet accused the Kremlin because of this virtual attacks directly, but then Estonian Foreign Minister would utter that they had no enough evidence to establish a link between these attacks and Russian state authorities. The first virtual war towards Estonia is important due to NATO came together after the attacks and create a cyber-war doctrine.
In 2008 Russia-Georgia war, Russian hackers stepping in again and destroyed many critical public internet infrastructure. One day before the day war began on 8 August, virtual attacks started to disable Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili’s website at "president.gov.ge". Then, the Georgian news agency GHN and other major newspapers and news sites were destroyed, struck a major blow to Georgia’s media power and a major weakness in communicating with the outside world occured. The websitesite of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia was also among the websitesites under an intensive virtual attack.
As a result, I can be said that Russia is among the states being aware of the importance of cyber security and military potential in 21st century. Like Cossacks protecting border regions and seizing new territories in Czarist Russia in the past, Russian hackers, in other name “Russian Cossacks”, protect the virtual borders of Russia and help their country as cyberspace forces in real battles Russia has against other countries.