Sunday, August 9, 2009

Georgia, Cymxymu, Russian Hackers, and the Twitter Troubles

" 'Russians took down Twitter' "
The Sun (U. K.) (August 7, 2009)

"Anti-Georgia Russian hackers may have been behind yesterday's global cyber attacks on Google, Facebook and Twitter.

"The organised web assaults completely shut down social networking site Twitter and disrupted access to Facebook — nearly a year to the day since the outbreak of the Georgia-Russia war.

"Search engine Google was also targeted but managed to fend off the 'denial-of-service' attacks...."

The Sun article is a pretty good overview of what happened last Thursday: and gives a more-than-usually-detailed look at details of the attack. That, and the probable motive are why I'm quoting more of the article than I generally do.

Targeting Some Guy With an Unpronounceable Handle

Okay: 'Cymxymu' may be quite easy to say, for someone who speaks Georgian. I haven't heard the language myself, and don't know how to match sounds - much less emphasis and tonal qualities - to the letters.

What I think is interesting is that this attack seems to have been directed against a particular individual.

"...And a Facebook executive revealed that a Georgian blogger called Cymxymu — who has accounts on all the websites — was the target of the attack.

"Facebook boss Max Kelly said: 'It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his voice from being heard.

" '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.'

"Computer experts said that when people clicked on spam emails sent to them via Facebook or Twitter they were taken to Cymxymu's website...."

It's likely enough that the hackers can be identified: the Internet isn't anywhere near as anonymous as trolls and socially-challenged twits seem to think. But I'm not at all sure that there will be serious penalties for the people responsible for Thursday's attack.

Writing about the Twitter troubles on Thursday, I compared the Internet to the American west, back in what Americans call the 'wild west' days. It's exciting, and full of promise - but there's a frustrating lack of law, too. (August 6, 2009)

Actually, it looks like Thursday's directed denial of service attack may have roots in the Cold War. Georgia is one of the countries absorbed by the Soviet Union, back in what some Russians may see as 'the good old days' when Russia controlled eastern Europe. The Georgia-Russia situation isn't all that simple. As a post I wrote in another blog one began, "If you're not a bit confused by the conflict between Georgia and Russia, you're not paying attention...." (August 13, 2009)

That Doesn't Sound "Apathetic," Does It?

A couple years ago, I explained why I chose the name of this blog. (September 9, 2007)

As a short recap of part of that post: The Lemming has quite definite views. But I'm "apathetic" - because my views aren't the approved ones in some circles. There are stronger terms to describe my lack of conformity to the dominant culture's standards - but that's another topic.

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