Facebook security officials have confirmed that Thursday’s massively coordinated attack on several social networking websites was aimed at a blogger from the country of Georgia who goes by the alias Cyxymu. But who is Cyxymu?
Cyxymu is a 34-year-old pro-Georgian and anti-Russian blogger who lives in Tbilisi, the capitol of Georgia. Cyxymu told the Los Angelos Times in a cell phone interview that his real name is Giorgy and he works as an economic professor at the University of Tbilisi. He declined to give his last name. Giorgy’s user name, Cyxymu, is named after the former Georgian city of Sukhumi, which he fled during the Russia-Georgia battles of the early 1990s.
Giorgi covered the 1992 War in Abkhazia, the 2007 Georgian demonstrations and the most recent 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict. The Washington Post reported that he posted photos on his LiveJournal blog of Russian soldiers entering the Georgian town of Gori during last year’s conflict. Giorgi said the photos were taken after Russia had announced its withdrawal, proving, he said, that fighting continued.
Giorgi told The Age, an Australian published newspaper, that he was convinced that Russian elements were behind Thursday’s distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
“An attack of such a scale would cost a huge amount of money. This is why I think that some structures in Russia are behind this,” he told The Age. “It is not clear to me why I was targeted, but the fact that this attack happened proves that I’ve been doing something important. On my blogs I have been writing about Russia’s preparations for the war, what was happening on August 7 last year and how the war started.”
It is not confirmed whether Russia was indeed behind Thursday’s cyber attack. Bill Woodcock, a well-respected 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.
Regardless of who was responsible, Cyxymu’s blog will likely receive a surge in followers as a result of this attack, proving that it is nearly impossible to censor online discourse in a digital age.