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Lenta.ru Hacked in Response to Company Firings

Lenta.ru fell victim to a DDoS attack, or distributed denial of service, attack.

Troubled news website Lenta.ru came under attack from hackers on Friday morning and was offline for about an hour.

Readers attempting to access Lenta.ru between about 11 a.m. and noon on Friday were met with an error message saying that the page could not be opened. Once the site started working again, Lenta.ru released a statement saying that they had fallen victim to a DDoS attack, or distributed denial of service, attack.

The statement said that repair work on the site was ongoing.

The hacker group calling itself the Russian Anonymous told TJournal that it was responsible for the attack, carried out in direct response to the mass firings that have struck Lenta.ru this week.

Russian Anonymous also said it hacked into the Kremlin and Central Bank websites on Friday.

On Wednesday, the chief editor of Lenta.ru, Galina Timchenko, was replaced by Alexei Goreslavsky, the former editor of Kremlin-friendly online publication Vzglyad.ru, in a move widely viewed as marking the death knell of one of Russia's remaining independent news outlets.

Earlier, the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service sent Lenta.ru an official warning, saying that it could face "extremism" charges for publishing an interview with a member of a Ukrainian ultranationalist group.

The editorial staff said in an online statement addressed to readers that they viewed Timchenko's removal as a sign that pressure was being exerted on them from external sources.

By Thursday evening, at least 39 of Lenta.ru's staff members, including 32 journalists and all of its photo editing staff, quit in a show of support for Timchenko, who had held her position since 2004.

The company's general director, Yulia Minder, was also replaced Thursday.

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