Hackers Target Georgian Government Web Sites

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As the fighting continues between Russia and Georgia, a number of attacks in cyberspace have been associated with the conflict. Hackers took control of the Georgia Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web server.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And as the conflict raged between Russian and Georgian soldiers in South Ossetia, some hackers are joining the battle in cyberspace. Several Georgian government Web sites, including that of the president, have been hit. Cyrus Farivar has more.

CYRUS FARIVAR: If you've gone to the official Web site of the Georgian parliament in the last couple of days, you've seen an assortment of pictures of Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili alongside pictures of Adolf Hitler. Below that, a Russian phrase, which when translated says: And he will finish like this. Below that, in English, it says: hacked by South Ossetia Hack Crew.

Beyond defacement, Georgian sites have sustained a series of denial-of-service attacks which flood sites with false requests. That's made these sites effectively unusable from within Georgia.

The Kremlin has not commented directly on these cyber-attacks, but security experts have little doubt as to who's involved. Scott Borg is director for the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a non-profit, non-governmental research institute.

Mr. SCOTT BORG (Director, U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit): The Russian government is in a position to deny that they are directly responsible for the attacks, but they have allowed the attacks to happen, and they've allowed the attacks to come out of servers that are under their jurisdiction and their control.

FARIVAR: Last year, another former Soviet republic, Estonia, suffered two weeks of large-scale cyber-attacks. Veterans of that incident will be sent to Georgia to help out later this week. For NPR News, I'm Cyrus Farivar.

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