Daily Video

August 14, 2008

Cyber Attacks Carry Russia-Georgia Conflict Online

Cyber attacks are the topic of this video, which serves as an explainer of how technology can be used to target an opponent’s websites or online resources.

While Georgia and Russia have clashed over two separatist provinces, tensions have also played out online. Georgia’s internet was crippled by hackers, who flooded the Georgian president’s website with requests, shutting it down for days.

Georgian government Web sites were also defaced with anti-Georgian and pro-Russian images.

An Internet security specialist explains how the hackers accomplished this, and how security investigators try to fight back and shut hackers down.


“In mid-July, as there were some increased tensions between Russia and Georgia over these regions under dispute, we began seeing an attack commanded to a large botnet that was directed to flood the Georgian president’s Web site with requests to load the page repeatedly as fast as possible.”- Jose Nazario, Arbor Networks

“It does not require specialized hardware or specialized — or uncommonly specialized software and tools. And it doesn’t require much sophistication on the part of the user.”- Jose Nazario, Arbor Networks

“This is, unfortunately, a very common occurrence and the size of those attacks has increased.” – Jose Nazario, Arbor Networks

Warm Up Questions

(1) What is a cyber attack?

(2) What important information about you is online that a hacker could get access to?

Discussion Questions

(1) Why do you think these cyber attacks were carried out against Georgia’s government? What purpose do they serve?

(2) How does ‘cyber warfare’ open the door for a larger variety of people to participate in hostilities between two countries or groups?

(3) What are some other ways cyber attacks have been used, or could be used, in other conflicts or by terrorists?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

In-depth coverage: Georgia’s Breakaway Provinces

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