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Anatomy of a cyberwar in Georgia

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Just who is behind the cyberattacks on Georgia – a sideshow to the real on-the-ground war between Russia and much smaller neighbor – continues to be murky.

While the Russian government or military may yet be found to be playing a part, criminal gangs or savvy computer hackers in Russia (“hackivists”) may be acting on their own.

The online attacks forced the website of the president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, to relocate to the United States at Tulip Systems Inc., an Atlanta-based Web-hosting company. Even there it was under continued attack, although it was reachable from a Boston-based computer as of Wednesday afternoon. The attacks were so-called “distributed denial of service” blitzes in which floods of meaningless data are sent in an effort to overwhelm a website.

The Associated Press explained why the website was moved from the Georgia in Eastern Europe to the one that’s a southern US state:

Georgian-born Nino Doijashvili, Tulip's chief executive and founder, happened to be in the country on vacation when fighting broke out Thursday. Doijashvili offered help to the government when it became apparent that Russian hackers were getting the upper hand, shutting down several government and news sites.

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