A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack brought down a government website in the country of Georgia this weekend.
The official site of Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, was taken down by the attackers on Saturday and Sunday, say researchers. The attacks were first recorded in the early hours of Saturday morning and continued into Sunday.
While researchers could not pinpoint the exact source of the attacks, early evidence points to sources within neighboring Russia. Arbor Networks chief analyst Jose Nazario reported that one of the messages sent in the data flood read “win+love+in+Russia.”
Meanwhile, researchers with security group ShadowServer noted that the botnet controlling software used in the attacks has also been linked to Russian botnets.
Formerly a Soviet republic, Georgia and Russia have been at odds on a number of diplomatic and military issues in recent years.
This is reminiscent of last year’s Estonian cyberattacks, in which the removal of Soviet war memorials in Estonia raised the ire of Russian nationalists, who in turn formed a “flash mob” and launched a series of coordinated attacks that crippled Estonian infrastructure for days.
“Recent DDoS attacks against various other neighbors of Russia to include Estonia have been quite popular in the last few years,” noted ShadowServer researcher Steven Adair.
“Is the attack political or perhaps nationalistic in nature? Your guess is as good as ours but it doesn’t take much to come to this possible conclusion.”
Nazario said that the attacks highlight the growing role that global conflicts are playing in web security.
“I have to admit that when these sorts of attacks appear, I often have to race to learn political history and tensions and relationships,” he said.
“I’m no expert at geopolitics, and as these sorts of attacks increase, their analysis is ever the more interesting.”