Professor Main Target of Assault on Twitter

Professor Main Target of Assault on Twitter
August 8, 2009
The cyberattacks Thursday and Friday on Twitter and other popular Web
services disrupted the lives of hundreds of millions of Internet
users, but the principal target appeared to be one man: a 34-year-old
economics professor from the republic of Georgia.
During the assault - the latest eruption in a yearlong skirmish
between nationalistic hackers in Russia and Georgia - unidentified
attackers sent millions of spam e-mail messages and bombarded
Twitter, Facebook and other services with junk messages. The blitz
was an attempt to block the professor's Web pages, where he was
revisiting the events leading up to the brief territorial war between
Russia and Georgia that began a year ago.
The attacks were "the equivalent of bombing a TV station because you
don't like one of the newscasters," Mikko Hypp=F6nen, chief research
officer of the Internet security firm F-Secure, said in a blog post.
"The amount of collateral damage is huge. Millions of users of
Twitter, LiveJournal and Facebook have been experiencing problems
because of this attack."
The blogger, a refugee from the Abkhazia region, a territory on the
Black Sea disputed between Russia and Georgia, writes under the name
Cyxymu, but identified himself only by the name Giorgi in a telephone
interview. Giorgi, who said he taught at Sukhumi State University,
first noticed Thursday afternoon that LiveJournal, a popular blogging
platform, was not working for him. "I decided to go to Facebook," he
said. "And Facebook didn't work. Then I went to Twitter, and Twitter
didn't work. 'How strange,' I thought, 'What a coincidence they all
don't work at once.' "
Security experts say that it is nearly impossible to determine who
exactly is behind the attack, which disrupted access to Twitter,
=46acebook, LiveJournal and some Google sites on Thursday and continued
to affect many Twitter users into Friday evening.
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Monty Solomon
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