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Georgian Web Sites Under Attack

As Russian bombs rained down on towns in separatist towns of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, hackers mounted a digital assault on the nation's top Web properties this week, knocking government Web sites offline and defacing others.

According to reports from security experts who have been monitoring the ongoing cyber attacks, the Web site for the office of Georgia Foreign Affairs ( was hacked, and its homepage was replaced with images depicting Georgia's president as a Nazi. That site is currently offline.

Other Georgian Web properties, such as the Caucasus Network Tbilisi -- key Georgian commercial Internet servers -- remain under sustained attack from thousands of compromised PCs aimed at flooding the sites with so much junk Web traffic that they can no longer accommodate legitimate visitors.

Security Blogger Jart Armin has been tracking the attacks by conducting Internet traces and lookups at key Georgian Web properties.

The apparently coordinated cyber attacks are reminiscent of recent cyber wars waged against other former Soviet republics that have attracted the ire of the Russian government for various political reasons. Last month, a similar assault targeted important Lithuanian government Web sites. In April 2007, the ultra-wired country suffered major disruptions in much of its information infrastructure, thanks largely to Russian hackers who were upset over the removal of a Soviet World War II memorial from the center of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

-- Brian Krebs

By Editors  |  August 10, 2008; 12:05 AM ET
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"As Russian bombs rained down on towns in separatist towns of the former Soviet republic of Georgia"
Actually, Russian bombs rained down on military bases of Georgia. Separatists are russian allies. Their towns are destroyed by Georgian artillery.

Posted by: Alex Rubin | August 10, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Can't help but notice that virtually every news forum devoted to this war are flooded with pro-Russian comments, presumably courtesy of the FSB.....
Why don't we just cut Russian and China off from the net?
That can build their own, and it will be nice and controlled.

Posted by: Nick | August 10, 2008 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Save the little nation from the annihilation!
Stop the genocide of the Ossetians!
The nationalistic and fascist government of Georgia from the year 1989 support the policy of the annihilation and the impression of the aboriginal Ossetian population from the territory that they occupy. From 1991 as a consequence of repeated military actions that were undertaken by the criminal authorities of Georgia against the small nations and the national purge murdered thousands of people –Ossetians, Abkhazians, Armenians, Russians. At the same time the scale of the genocide passed over the silence by mass media. The atrocity of the Georgian fascists, the tortures surpassed the one of the German fascists during the World War II.
The Georgian nation is sick, the ideas of the national oneness, justifying the territorial claims are warmed up by the Georgian mass media. The government of Georgia is financed by the USA, having it's own geopolitical interests in the region. Now the tragedy is developed, the Ossetian people are systematically shot in own houses, perish under blockages of the destroyed houses. The Georgian fascists have destroyed, have wiped about Ossetian villages, the city of Tskhinval is in ruins. It's impossible to count up the quantity of victims, that were buried under blockages of the houses destroyed by fire of the Georgian aggressors, the account goes on thousand. Groans of people from under blockages are audible. The Republic hospital where had helped to the wounded man was destroyed by the Georgian artillery, under blockages were wounded men and medical workers who could not be released under heavy fire of the opponent. Thus the Georgian party cynically declares the constitutional order prompting, one for another offers insinuations to accuse the Russian or Ossetian parts in the conflict. The people of Abkhazia will be the following victims of the Georgian extremism. We ask for the help, solidarity, and if it is possible with an exit on the international sites. Let the world knows the truth, instead of presented by the Georgian masters of falsifications lie.

Posted by: Lucky Barker | August 10, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

georgia should keep facts in perspective.
russia has become powerful again,and recent events in iraq and afganistan had showed american weakness.Its always better for small countries to stay away from The big game,because nothing would happen to these powerful countries,but Georgia will become another testing grounds for these powers.

Posted by: kirat | August 10, 2008 3:12 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Krebs....It makes your credibility suffer to write such nonsense.

It was Georgia who attacked and killed Russian piece keepers together with 1600 Osetians. They simply razed the entire capital of S.Osetia. How is it wrong for Russia to interfiere when they were given mandates to keep piece in the region and the troops that were keeping piece were slaughtered by Georgian Artillery.

Russia is doing what any other country in its place would do. Its bombing Georgian airfields and Georgian artillery so Georgia cant use it to attack S Osetia.

Posted by: Rubiconski | August 10, 2008 3:57 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the pro-Soviet propaganda in the comments section is amazing. It seems a little much to assume that it is all done by actual representatives of the second rate used car of superpowers (Russia), but who knows?

Posted by: Arlington, VA | August 10, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Russian tanks ALREADY go to Tbilisi!! Probably murders of ossetic women and children about Tskhinvali was a mistake. Everyone make mistakes. (Alas the army of the USA too sometimes kills peace inhabitants.)
It is necessary to forget about the perfect mistakes.
Today the USA should protect the ally in region. The UNIQUE ally.
If to not stop Russian they will crush young pro-American democracy.

Posted by: Gogi | August 10, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

News just in, the U.S. betrayed its ally Georgia and Georgian troops retreat on the way. Now no countries will ever trust the U.S.

The U.S. backed down when faced with threat from the commie KGB Putin. This is a total humiliation for the Americans.

It's like the old western gunslinger movie where Putin says to Bush: "Do you feel lucky" + "Go ahead, make my day". And Bush blinks!

This proves to the world Bush is a bully to small kids but a coward to someone of his own age.

Posted by: Mickey | August 10, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute! Didn’t Georgian government start this war? And wasn’t it completely unprovoked? From all I can read, main Russian forces were not even in a region when Saakashvili decided to start military assault on the breakaway republic. Also, wasn’t it Saakashvili who used live ammunition on his own people at the opposition meeting couple month ago? From all I can read and see, this time Russia is making a move to establish and protect democracy in the region while America is ready to support one of the worst regimes imaginable.

Posted by: Ralph | August 10, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Russia sends a love poem to Ukraine via the war in Georgia: don't run away from me or this could happen to you too.

The world is watching how U.S. betrayed its ally Georgia as the Georgian troops retreat from the Russian Tanks. Now no countries will ever trust the U.S.

The U.S. bend over when faced with threat from the commie KGB Putin. The U.S. weakness before the Russians is on display to the world. This is a total humiliation for the Americans.

It's like the old western gunslinger movie where Putin says to Bush: "Do you feel lucky" + "Go ahead, make my day". And Bush blinks!

This proves to the world Bush is a bully to small kids(e.g. Iraq) but a coward to someone(e.g. Russia) of his own age.

Posted by: Mickey | August 10, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"As Russian bombs rained down on towns in separatist towns"... That is a VERY BAD joke.

Georgian forces had been pouring permanent rocket fire on civilians,women and children under night cover - and that is what have started Russian attacks.

Shame on you.

Posted by: Me | August 10, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, I am amazed at all the pro-Soviet (oops, sorry, Russian ...) propaganda ("Lucky Barker", et al) that is appearing here.
Russia is repeating what the Soviet Union did in Hungary in 1956 (and in a few more countries): killing people to maintain and build an empire.

Brian, thank you for the information.
I am not sure if propaganda rants such as that by "Lucky Barker" have a place in this blog.

Posted by: GSG | August 10, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. The pro-Georgian propaganda from GSG and, sadly, Brian, is no better than the Russian nationalism, I'm afraid. I think the old slogan "Neither Washington nor Moscow, but international Socialism" is still working well. Better to stick with computer-related stuff on this blog.

Posted by: christian h. | August 10, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Can't help but notice that virtually every news forum devoted to this war are flooded with pro-Russian comments, presumably courtesy of the FSB....."
How about a more simple explanation - like maybe this time Russia is doing the right thing?

Posted by: Passerby | August 10, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious, if Bush wanter to intervene he would only send 5000 planes. Bomb the entire country and say I won. Easy way out. But this way nah, he will sit at the Olimpics and watch what he was sent there to do. Create jokes and verbaly keep atacking China, that is until China tells him off.

Posted by: Geof | August 11, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

You all, Tskhinvali has been shattered city, And how are you. Ignorance and you are back in the U.S.S.R's concentrated death row?

Posted by: africanj | August 11, 2008 1:36 AM | Report abuse

when you think Putin...think KGB...this has been in the works for years. The former KGB is in control of Russia. And the west is going to let him have what he wants. W is a chicken. I say plop the 84th down just outside Tbilisi and send in the f22's

Posted by: ibjohn | August 11, 2008 5:16 AM | Report abuse

Status of war (

Okay people, I can't tell you where I am right now but I will try to post some info from our, georgian side.

Everything began on 7th of August, when South Ossetian forces started fire towards georgian villages.

Our answer was to ceise fire - what did not happened, so georgian forces began to move into South Ossetian territory to stop the separatists.

That night georgian forces occupied Tskhinvali and the fire was stopped.

Kokoity and his administration flew to village of Djava under protection of russian peacekeepers.

Another day - 8th of August russian troops started to invade South Ossetia and at the same time to bomb some military and civilian targets across Georgia - towns of Gori, Senaki, Zugdidi, port of Poti and numerous georgian military bases, as well as Tskhinvali itself.

Georgian official losses - 40 soldiers and 17 civilians.

Today's situation:

Abkhazia attacked Kodori and thereby opened a second war front for Georgia.

This morning at 7 AM russian aircraft bombed an aircraft factory near Airport of Tbilisi.

More than 300 tanks and 10 000 soldiers of the russian 58th army (NOT peacekeepers) are now in South Ossetia and they plan to attack Zugdidi in western Georgia.

This is an undeclared war.

Posted by: Giga | August 11, 2008 5:57 AM | Report abuse

Everyone: the Russians write comments based on their not-so-free news media, whereas the US media is not neutral either. A more neutral view would be the BBC.

I find it fascinating that Russians cannot see parallels with South Ossetia and Chechnya - both with similar independence ambitions. The reason behind this is the "divide and conquer" mentality of the Russian government. The situation is also not very much different from the Shelling of Mainila which Soviet Union used as an excuse to attack Finland in 1939. The Russians claim their troops in S.Ossetia are "peacekeepers", yet these forces are not recognized by the UN, for example.

What I find despicable is the Russian politicians' zest to paint Georgian or even the Estonian politicians as Nazis if their government doesn't follow the orders from Kreml. And because Russia has an increasingly strong pro-Russia movement going on (Putin Jugend for example) the black-hat computer hackers are more than willing to commence electronic warfare at a whim.

Posted by: Finn | August 11, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, peeps! Take your political rants elsewhere. If you have an instructive comment about the coordinated cyber attacks on Georgian websites, fine. Make it. Otherwise, move on, please!

Posted by: Pete from Arlington | August 11, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Kremlin just makes one next step on their path of imperialist and revisionist politics. Using cyber attacks, using energy supplies, using Russian passport holders etc, and now using direct military aggression to regain the influence Soviet Union once had.

Posted by: RvV | August 11, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The three attacks indicate some sort of interface between the Kremlin power elite, the FSB, Russia's cyber gangs, and the Russian military establishment. Almost certainly short of an interlocking directorate, but still connected. I hope the US intelligence community is researching this!

I'm curious as to whether the flood of pro-
Russian mail here is fr/ sock puppets controlled by the above groupings or people motivated by nationalism and patriotism.

Posted by: Kfritz | August 11, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I cann't believe this is written by Brian Krebs - who did many detailed articles on many IT-security issues. And what now? He talks like TV-head for housefives.

(1) Both sides were DDoS-attacked. Both, Brian! Like, a coin has two sides. A war, too. You are not a journalist if you don't know this. The biggest Russian news agency RIA Novosti was down for two days. And some other Russian sites, too. Read the damn news!

(2) Attacks (for both sides) started and ended almost the same time. It leads the experts to the idea these attacks were organized by the same "third party".

We call this party - U.S.A. This is you America who trained Georgian soldiers in Iraq for this war. Why don't you tell us how you train botnet masters in Ukraine?

Posted by: Axel | August 11, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse


Your article, "Georgian Web Sites Under Attack" is definitely an important aspect of the Russian's invasion, so I appreciate your commentary on it. It appears that the Russian government truly recognizes the power of the internet as a medium for mass communication around the globe. The simultaneity of the invasion with the cyber attacks on the network is a major concern for all western nations. Since there are no standardized practices or "silver bullet" solutions to preventing cyber attacks at this time the United States would be smart to take measure of what Georgia has suffered not just on the battlefield, but on the cyber battlefield.

Posted by: JBushman | August 11, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Estonia sending cyber defense experts to Georgia:

Posted by: Gerry O. | August 11, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The comment by Lucky Barker (Aug. 10) is not a personal opinion, it is a quote from a Russian website. You can read it in English :

Posted by: GSG | August 11, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Christian h, I had a lot of personal experience that leads me to state what I did re Soviet/Russian actions; it has nothing to do with pro-Georgian feelings.

Posted by: GSG | August 11, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Many of us americans wish our government would respond with more than harshly worded rhetoric. Many of us know how dedicated a friend we have in Georgia and lament our government's inaction. Russia must be stopped and no words will stop the nihilistic machine driven by Putin. I pray for our friends in Georgia.

Posted by: bill | August 11, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

What would the United States do if Mexico had troops in the Southwestern United States and the President of Mexico told Washington that the Mexican troops were there to protect the Mexicans living the States because they had Mexican passports?

The Mexicans living there want this part of the United States to secede from the United States even though the land is part of the United States.

The United States then sends in a small number of troops to make the Mexican troops leave. Fighting breaks out because the Mexican troops won’t leave. The Mexican government then sends in the Mexican army to fight the US troops.

Who is at fault the US (Georgia) or Mexico (Russia)?

I think the answer is clear… Russia!

Posted by: Aldinsgirl | August 12, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse - Graph

Why this graph (and other) are on Armin's blog with the copyright : "2008" ?

Is it really serious ?

Posted by: DMCA | August 13, 2008 5:43 AM | Report abuse

Let me start by saying that I am not happy about software development being off shored to India and other countries. Such off shoring has probably affected the income of software developers like me by 10s of thousands of dollars per year. But that’s the way the ball bounces. And maybe some of that money is in the hands of people that need it more than I do. I am still living comfortably so I don’t have anything to cry about.

On the other hand, it’s just plain stupid to have some types of software developed off shore because it is a threat to [United States] national security – and I am not saying that because my income has taken a hit -- its just plain true and I am wondering why no one is talking about it? It wouldn’t be hard to for an enemy of the United States to infiltrate a software development firm in India and insert some code that could be exploited in such a way as to cause significant damage. Actually I once accidently wrote a method that could be exploited to great harm. Luckily I was able to fix the mistake before someone had a chance to exploit it. But that means that an infiltrator doesn’t even have to write a single line of malicious code. All they have to do is look for a blunder by another software developer that can be exploited. Believe me there are plenty of those. I once spent 3 months making mindless changes to Microsoft Windows software swapping out exploitable functions calls with ones that couldn’t be exploited.

So given this information – why are banks like Washington Mutual off shoring the software development? That is scary. Al-Qaeda’s strategy is to bankrupt the United States. So far they seem to be doing a pretty good job and they haven’t even killed very many of us. They don’t deserve all the credit though because they are getting tons of assistance from George Bush. But then why should they get even more help from a pack a greedy CEO’s that are willing to jeopardize national security for the sake of more profit?


Posted by: Randy Stimpson | August 13, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Russia is not fooling anyone. Russia is on a mission to monopolize and control all of the Oil routes in that region. They can not do this as long as Georgia remains a free and democratic country which is friendly toward the west. They have been financing the separatists movements to stir trouble for the Georgian goverment in the hopes of overthrowing them. Yes, we Americans have to find alternative sources of energy QUICKLY so that we can stop supporting (indirectly) the rise of Putin's Russia.... and tell Russia and the Arab nations what to do with their oil....

Posted by: Sylvia | August 14, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

BOYCOTT RUSSIA.... The government of Russia is evil and calculating!!! They have the people of Russia fooled into believing that they were protecting innocent citizens of Russia from Georgia. They controll the media which allows them to lie to the masses. Shame on the Russian people for believing the lies and not seeing Putin for what he is.... A Self Serving, Greedy, Egotistical, Communist with a desire to control the World.....

Posted by: Jennifer | August 14, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

They must stop the killing. This cannot continue. As for Rubiconski and the others in this thread: thank goodness you are not in charge. Things would only be worse.

Great article, Bk.

Posted by: Rick | August 16, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

We don't know the truth any of us because we aren't there but for what i know the great power don't do anything without an interest maybe is for the gas line in order to obtain a monopoly for gas distribution in EU matbe not but is clear that the Russian are there for peace keeping.

Posted by: Sinther | August 18, 2008 2:28 AM | Report abuse

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