Thousands of Websites Offline as Georgia Suffers Major Cyber-Attack
Thousands of websites and a national TV station have been taken out by a major cyber-attack in the eastern European nation of Georgia.
The former Soviet nation has been left reeling after the apparently coordinated attack led to the defacement of over 15,000 pages — many of which were replaced with a photo of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, and the words "I'll be back." Some 2000 were apparently forced offline completely.
Among those affected are the presidential website, non-government organizations, the courts, and numerous private companies, according to the BBC.
The outages and disruptions appear to be the result of attackers targeting web hoster Proservice, which reportedly claimed on Monday evening it had been able to recover around half of those sites.
Broadcasters Imedi and Maestro have also had services disrupted, with computers at the latter reportedly destroyed in the attacks.
It’s unclear what the motives for the attack are, although speculation has focused around Russia, which forced nearly all Georgian government sites and banks offline en masse during the 2008 war between the two nations.
Pro-Western former President Saakashvili ruled from 2004 to 2013, but now lives in self-imposed exile after being accused by Tbilisi of abuse of power, which his supporters claim is a politically motivated stunt.
"The scale of this cyber-attack is unprecedented, and Georgia will almost certainly have to face vast repercussions once the problem is resolved. However, the ‘I’ll be back’ signature is ominous, and I have no reason not to believe that they won’t be, unless the nation of Georgia makes some serious changes to their cybersecurity protocols,” argued Tim Dunton, Managing Director of Nimbus Hosting.
"This attack should act as a reminder to every nation, regardless of their size or wealth, that it is essential to invest in safe, secure IT servers and operate modern technology systems which are protected against the threat of any cyber-attacker."
Source: Information Security Magazine