The Latvian news agency LETA has been hit for several hours Thursday night by a denial of service (DOS) attack that blocked access to its main news website www.leta.lv. The business portal www.nozare.lv appeared to be working normally.
The attack came two days ahead of national elections October 2 to the Latvian parliament or Saeima. LETA will be a major source of election news and returns and a threat at this late date creates uncertainty as to whether LETA or its
LETA editor-in-chief Pēteris Zirnis, citing the news agency's IT administrators, confirmed that a denial of service attack had been going on and efforts were made to stop it. DOS attacks, also called distributed DOS (DDOS) involve a large number of computers sending huge numbers of connection requests or specially-designed data packets to a target server, with the aim of overwhelming its capacity to respond.
While DDOS attacks are often launched for purposes of criminal mischief or extortion, it cannot be rule out that someone is testing their ability to disrupt the flow of news during the coming elections or at other critical times. In that case, there is a severe and ongoing threat to the free flow of information in Latvia.
As of 23:50 Thursday night, the main service was still down.
UPDATE: LETA service appeared to be restored at around 24:00 (midnight)