Georgian blogger Cyxymu blames Russia for cyber attack
Blogger claims attack on Twitter, Facebook and LiveJournal was part of plot to silence his criticism of the Kremlin
Tom Parfitt in Moscow guardian.co.uk, Friday 7 August 2009 13.37 BST
The Georgian blogger known as Cyxymu, who was yesterday the victim of a cyber assault that affected hundreds of millions of web users around the world, has blamed the attack on the Kremlin.
Speaking to the Guardian from an office in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, he said he believed the denial-of-service strike that hit LiveJournal, Facebook and Twitter stemmed from an attempt to silence his criticism over Russia's conduct in the war over the disputed South Ossetia region, which began a year ago today.
"Maybe it was carried out by ordinary hackers but I'm certain the order came from the Russian government," said the blogger, whose monicker is a latinised version of the Russian spelling of Sukhumi, the capital of Georgia's other breakaway republic, Abkhazia.
He added: "An attack on such a scale that affected three worldwide services with numerous servers could only be organised by someone with huge resources."
The trio of social networking sites were temporarily overwhelmed causing disruptions of service.
Cyxymu said his real name was Georgy and that he was a 34-year-old economics lecturer. He is an active critic of Moscow's politics in the Caucasus region and was the victim of a similar attack last year that crashed LiveJournal.
He said he was "amazed" when he realised the latest strike on his blog, Sukhumi, war and pain, had seemingly prompted a global online meltdown.
"I didn't expect that it would be an attack on me, I'm not such a famous blogger," he said. "It started when hundreds of thousands of spam emails supposedly from me were sent all over the world suggesting for people to visit one of my blogs. So thousands of people visited it causing it to freeze, and they [LiveJournal] had to block it again. Then the same thing happened with Facebook and Twitter."
Max Kelly, Facebook's chief security officer, confirmedyesterday that the attack that disrupted the Twitter site and caused problems for Facebook and LiveJournal was aimed at Cyxymu. "It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his voice from being heard," he said.
Cyxymu said he had started his blog as a way to unite ethnic Georgians who lived in Sukhumi but were forced to leave as refugees in 1993 when Abkhazia seceded from Georgia. "When the war started in South Ossetia last year I couldn't avoid being drawn into politics," he said