Twitter and Facebook taken down by the Russians?
The denial-of-service attack that hit both Twitter and Facebook is thought to have been caused by an orchestrated attack on one Georgian blogger.
Twitter was knocked offline for several hours on Thursday, while Facebook and blogging service LiveJournal were also affected.
All of the attacks were targeting a single user of the services, that of anti-Russia blogger, Cyxymu (the name of a town in Georgia). The attacks came a year to the day since Georgian troops moved into South Ossetia, sparking a conflict with Russia.
Max Kelly, Facebook’s chief security officer told CNet.com that “it was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him [Cyxymu] 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.”
Other security experts have confirmed that the Cyxymu account was the target of the attacks.
Cyxymu’s GMail account is also reported to have been hacked, sending out thousands of spam mails urging people to visit his various blog sites.
However, security experts claim this is unlikely to have been enough to down Twitter and Facebook by itself.
“Some media reports have suggested that the surge in internet traffic that crippled Twitter wasn’t the result of a distributed denial-of-service attack, but caused by spam recipients clicking on the links to Cyxymu’s webpages,” says Sophos’s senior technology consultant, Graham Cluley.
“I don’t think that’s likely. Most people wouldn’t have bothered clicking on the link.”
Russia and Georgia have a history of cyberattacks on one another in the aftermath of the conflict in South Ossetia.