New reports indicate that international cyber warfare was to blame for the Distributed-Denial-of-Services attacks that shut down Twitter, slowed down Facebook and disrupted many other social networking websites last Thursday.
According to Facebook’s chief security officer, Max Kelly, the attacks were aimed at silencing a pro-Georgian blogger living in the Republic of Georgia who goes by the username, Cyxymu. “It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his voice from being heard,” Kelly told CNet. “We’re actively investigating the source of the attacks and we hope to be able to find out the individuals involved in the back end and to take action against them if we can.”
Bill Woodcock, research director for the Packet Clearing House, a nonprofit technical organization that tracks Internet traffic, told the New York Times that he had found evidence last week that the attacks originated from the Abkhazia region, a territory on the Black Sea disputed between Russia and Georgia.
Woodcock told the NYT that the attack started at about 10:30 a.m., E.S.T. Millions of people worldwide received spam e-mails with links to various websites, which overwhelmed the servers of Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and LiveJournal. “Twitter was definitely hit the hardest,” Woodcock told the NYT.
This marks the second alleged case in one month of international cyber warfare, as North Korea was blamed for a similar attack on U.S. and South Korean government websites in early July. The most recent attack demonstrates how social networking channels could become a strategic target in future geo-political conflicts