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Georgian Government, News Sites Under Cyber Attack

Attacks attributed to Russia take many key information sources offline

The fierce fighting that began last week between Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia is being mirrored in a fierce cyber battle between the two countries, according to Georgian officials and third-party observers.

Using a temporary Website, the Georgian government issued a statement yesterday that its sites, along with some Georgian news sites, are under a coordinated denial of service attack from Russia.

The attacks are a massive escalation of the distributed denial of service (DDOS) exploits executed on the president of Georgia's Website last month. The Georgian government is posting some information via Polish government sites, and the president's site is now being hosted on servers in Atlanta. (See President of Georgia's Site Under Attack.)

In a detailed blog posted last night, security expert Dancho Danchev offers a closer look at the attacks and suggests that the Russian government may be actively recruiting citizens to participate in the attacks.

"Following a basic rule of cyber warfare, that the masses are sometimes more powerful than the botnet master’s willingness to sacrifice hundreds and thousands of his bots, the current campaign has also thought of the average Internet users who are encouraged to use a plain simple HTTP flooder distributed for this purpose," Danchev says.

In his blog, security expert Gadi Evron says the effects of the DDOS attack may be felt across the Web. "DDoS attacks harm the Internet itself, rather than just this or that site, so soon this may require some of us in the Internet security operations community getting involved in mitigating the attacks, if they don't just drop on their own," he says.

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