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Twitter blogger claims he was target of Russian cyber attack

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-07

A pro-Georgian blogger known as Cyxymu claims he was the main target of the recent cyber attacks that forced web application Twitter to shut down and disrupted the social networking websites Facebook and LiveJournal.

AFP - A pro-Georgian blogger was the target of cyber attacks that disrupted Twitter and hampered services at Facebook and Livejournal, Internet security company F-Secure said on Friday.

Massive distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks intended to silence a blogger known as "Cyxymu" hammered Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Livejournal, F-Secure researcher Mikko Hyponnen said in a message at the firm's website.

"Launching DDoS attacks against services like Facebook is the equivalent of bombing a TV station because you don't like one of the newscasters," Hyponnen wrote.

"The amount of collateral damage is huge. Millions of users of Twitter, Livejournal, and Facebook have been experiencing problems because of this attack."

Effects of the attacks were still being felt Friday, with Facebook and Livejournal not accepting connections to Cyxymu's online pages, according to Hyponnen.

"Whoever is behind this attack, they had significant bandwidth available," the Internet security specialist said.

"Our best guess is that these attacks were done by nationalistic Russian hackers who wanted to silence a visible online opponent."

In "tweets" at popular micro-blogging service Twitter, Cyxymu blames Russian authorities out to stifle his online commentary.

The attacks may have had the opposite effect, with the number of people signed on to follow Cyxymu tweets nearly doubling to 642 in the wake of the cyber assaults.

Twitter was down for more than an hour early Thursday and service at the eponymous California firm's website was sporadic through the day.

Twitter is working closely with other companies "affected by what appears to be a single, massively coordinated attack," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said in an online message.

Twitter and Facebook have teamed up with US Internet powerhouse Google to investigate the attacks.

Google owns online video-sharing website YouTube and a Blogger service which were reportedly hit by cyber attacks.

Mountain View, California-based Google deflected the assaults and "prevented substantive impact to our services," a company spokesman said.

Classic DDoS attacks involve legions of zombie computers, machines infected with viruses, which are commanded to simultaneously visit a website.

Such a massive onslaught of demand can overwhelm website computer servers, slowing service or knocking it offline.

An everyday chatting tool for many, Twitter has also become a weapon for dissidents to circumvent censorship in places where freedom of speech is suppressed.

Date created : 2009-08-07