Network Security, Network Security, Threat Management

Cause of Twitter DDoS traced to Russia-Georgia conflict

A coordinated attack against a pro-Georgia blogger is responsible for the takedown Thursday of social networking site Twitter, according to researchers.

The culprits, presumably Russian hackers upset with the writings of the blogger "Cyxymu," launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against his Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and LiveJournal accounts, according to security firm F-Secure.

The assault against Twitter not only brought the blogger's page to a standstill -- but it also took down the entire site for more than two hours. The attack also slowed service on Facebook and LiveJournal, but did not result in their total takedown, reports said.

According to CNN, "Cyxymu" recently posted blogs that were critical of Russia's continued "military aggression" toward Georgia. He also said he has been chronicling reforms underway in Georgia so that people outside of the country can stay informed.

The attacks come roughly a year after the Georgia-Russia War, a five-day conflict that resulted after Georgia invaded the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russian forces responded in earnest, driving Georgian soldiers out of the tiny province. The war also spawned a number of cyberincidents.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of F-Secure, said in a blog post Friday that the hackers had "significant bandwidth" at their disposal to conduct Thursday's attack.

"Launching DDoS attacks against services like Facebook is the equivalent of bombing a TV station because you don't like one of the newscasters," he said. "The amount of collateral damage is huge."

Twitter founder Biz Stone said on the company's blog on Thursday that, though the popular microblogging service is back online, some members still may experience issues.

"As to the motivation behind this event, we prefer not to speculate," Stone said. "Please note that no user data was compromised in this attack. This activity is about saturating a service with so many requests that it cannot respond to legitimate requests, thereby denying service to intended customers or users."

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