Cyber Attack, Google and the Georgian War

In the new web 2.0 era, preparation for physical warfare is preceded by cyberattattacks and by cyberdefence.

Here is the Georgian’s war cyberdefence ‘provided’ by Google, (from InformationAge)

…”Yesterday, it emerged that the company had removed details of all roads, towns and cities in Georgia from its Google Maps online mapping service, as well as from the maps of neighbouring countries Azerbaijan and Armenia. According to the Azerbaijan Press Agency, the relevant maps went blank as soon as fighting broke out. However, satellite information was still available earlier today.

Several observers highlighted the fact that Google co-founder Sergey Brin is Moscow-born.

Meanwhile, Google is involuntarily providing cyber-refuge to Georgian web sites that have been disrupted by Russian hackers. Georgian news site Civil.ge  (now restored) relocated to a domain on Google’s Blogger blogging infrastructure after a cyber-attack, reportedly originating in Russia, took the web site down.

Even Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is using the Blogger infrastructure to disseminate information:see here “…… For the full article see here. For the map see here.

As for the Cyberattacks, the NYT published yesterday (August 12, 2008) that …

….”Weeks before bombs started falling on Georgia, a security researcher in suburban Massachusetts was watching an attack against the country in cyberspace.”…

An image from the Web site of the Georgian Parliament after it had been defaced showing Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili together with leaders of the Nazi regime

An image from the Web site of the Georgian Parliament after it had been defaced showing Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili together with leaders of the Nazi regime

   

Jose Nazario of Arbor Networks in Lexington noticed a stream of data directed at Georgian government sites containing the message: “win+love+in+Rusia.”

Other Internet experts in the United States said the attacks against Georgia’s Internet infrastructure began as early as July 20, with coordinated barrages of millions of requests — known as distributed denial of service, or D.D.O.S., attacks — that overloaded and effectively shut down Georgian servers.

Researchers at Shadowserver, a volunteer group that tracks malicious network activity, reported that the Web site of the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, had been rendered inoperable for 24 hours by multiple D.D.O.S. attacks. They said the command and control server that directed the attack was based in the United States and had come online several weeks before it began the assault.

As it turns out, the July attack may have been a dress rehearsal for an all-out cyberwar once the shooting started between Georgia and Georgia. According to Internet technical experts, it was the first time a known cyberattack had coincided with a shooting war. See here the full article.

So, perhaps the Holy Grail of anticipating an imminent war, is to monitor unusual Internet activity  on the globe, before there is any real troops displacement

Georgia war 2008

Georgia war 2008

Russian soldiers on top of an APC pass by a burning house on the way to Tskhinvali, capital of Georgian

Russian soldiers on top of an APC pass by a burning house on the way to Tskhinvali, capital of Georgian

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