Under Cyberattack, Georgia Finds 'Bullet-Proof' Hosting With Google And Elsewhere

The president of Georgia's Web site has been moved to the state of Georgia in the United States to defend against threats real and virtual.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

August 12, 2008

2 Min Read

Even as it battles Russian and separatist forces, the country of Georgia faces a cyberassault that has intermittently knocked its national Web presence offline.

Since Aug. 8, multiple command and control servers have been attacking Web sites that are Georgian or are sympathetic to the country, reports Steven Adair of Shadow Server Foundation, a security watchdog group.

The attacks have resulted in the defacement of the Web site of the Georgian Parliament. A group calling itself the "South Ossetia Hack Crew" claims responsibility for posting a series of images that compare Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili with Adolf Hitler.

Other official Georgian sites have been affected, too. At times on Monday, clicking on a link to the English language version of Georgian President Saakashvili's Web site returned an SQL error.

In the spirit of spammers who seek "bullet-proof" hosting to remain online despite efforts to take their sites down, the president of Georgia's Web site has been moved to the state of Georgia in the United States to defend against threats real and virtual. It is presently being hosted by Tulip Systems in Atlanta, Ga.

According to the Associated Press, Georgian-born Nino Doijashvili, CEO of Tulip Systems, happened to be vacationing in Georgia, the country, when fighting started on Friday. "She cold-called the government to offer her help and transferred president.gov.ge and rustavi2.com, the Web site of a prominent Georgian TV station, to her company's servers Saturday," the AP said.

The president of Poland also has given Georgia space on his Web site to distribute official information.

And Google has come to the rescue of Georgia, too. Ill-served by besieged local infrastructure, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has begun communicating through a blog hosted on Google's Blogger service.

Google declined to comment on what's going on in Georgia or the use of Blogger as an official Georgian communication channel.

But the actions of Georgian officials suggest that the effects of conflicts present and future will be felt far beyond regions where actual violence is talking place. In war today, the front line is anywhere online.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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