Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Russian-instigated cyberwarfare

Aside from the actual war in Georgia, Georgian servers have been subjected to a denial of service attacks which have taken them offline. While DOS attacks are difficult to trace, there is one hint that the attacks came from hackers associated with the Russian government: they started well in advance of the hostilities. According to the NYT, the attacks began as early as July 20, whereas the on-the-ground hostilities didn't start until earlier this month. While it would have been conceivable that the hackers were unaffiliated with the government if the attacks merely coincided with the hostilities, the fact that they predated them leads me to believe that someone with foreknowledge of the fighting orchestrated them. While Georgia and Russia have been facing off for months know, and hostilities have been escalating all year, it seems like a very strange coincidence that the cyberattacks stated so shortly before the start of actual war.

The cyberattacks on Georgian governmental and nongovernmental websites are the second major coordinated incidents, the first being the attacks last year on Estonian servers coinciding with the relocation of a monument to Soviet troops in Tallinn. The Russian government was also blamed by some during that incident, and this revelation about the attacks on Georgian servers makes it seem more likely that the Estonian attacks were also triggered by the Russian government.

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