The LATimes noticed that someone took the websites of the government of Georgia off line

Analysts say the online attacks, which appear to have begun well before Russian tanks rolled in, resembled the work of garden-variety cyber pranksters. Georgian government websites were overwhelmed with swarms of data, and some were defaced by hackers. There was no clear proof of Russian military involvement (investigators have reportedly traced some of the data to Russian servers tied to organized-crime groups)…

Ah, yes: “No clear proof” that the Russian military were involved.

Well, there is a lot of cybercrime originating in Russia and the dirty little secret is that they operate  with the covert agreement that the government will let them alone if they “help” the government do their dirty work.

But the full story is found on the geek sites: ZDNET on August 11 reported the attacks in great detail.

Using pings and spambots is quite “low tech”, but nevertheless, several vital websites of the Government of Georgia were taken down: making it difficult for that government to get their side of the story out.

The Russians then attacked, and were able to claim massacres etc. to justify it’s attacks without a pesky Georgian government producing photos and witnesses to counteract their propaganda.

Russians one, Georgians zero.

However,  cyberwarfare has two sides, so when the Government couldn’t get their news out, they opened a blog on Google’s Blogger.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Blog.

The site allowed the main stream news to find official reports from the Georgian government, allowing the Georgian government to dispel false reports and rumors spread by the Russians and point out a few little things like the Russian military doing some ethnic cleansing of it’s own..

But there is another way that Russia is trying to influence the story coming out.

Just as China’s enthusiastic bloggers overwhelm sites that dare criticize massacres in Tibet, so too have the Russians using their bloggers and blogposts to try to control the story.

With Russia Today unwilling or unfit to fulfill its global mandate, some patriotic Russian netizens decided to wage their own propaganda campaigns. Like their Chinese colleagues who, earlier in the year, rushed to YouTube and Web sites of foreign media to leave comments about Tibet and the Olympics, Russians didn’t think twice before flooding the Web sites of CNN and BBC with comments. Even very marginally related online venues—such as the European forum of the popular game World of Warcraft—were hijacked by angry Russian comments (the threads have been subsequently deleted).

Presumably, the Russians will soon learn to shut down any such alternative Blogger sites, just like the pro Hillary Blogs were shut down as “spam” last month.

But the lesson in all of this is that cyberwar is real, but that thinking “outside the box” can win the day.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.  

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