When you hear news like this it is hard not to write about it.
It seams that there is another cyber-attack on Georgian web sites, which include The Georgian presidential (www.president.gov.ge) and other government websites (such as www.parliament.ge) as reported [1]. As [2] reports this is the second round of attacks, since the initial attacks on the 20 July 2008.
Obviously the attackers are using zombie machines, that have been infected with Malware/Trojans that gives them full control over the machine. These are then used to coordinate attacks (e.g. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service – in layman’s terms nothing is reachable online from either side.)). Wonderful I know.

Since this is not the only recent event (i.e. Estonia) to happen, it should make other countries/governments rethink their reliance on the Internet and the connected world. This has been stressed in many academic papers (e.g. the ECIW 2008 conference had a paper on the cyber-attacks on Estonia [3]), none the less cyber-attacks should be taken into serious consideration.

There was a nice debate we had with some individuals at ECIW 2008, on whether cyber-attacks can cause a state of cyber-terrorism [4]. The question put forward would be Are people terrorised by being denied access to certain online facilities/services? …therefore it constitute as cyber-terrorism. The conclusion was simple, no, to which everyone/at least most of us agreed too.

Denial of Service is just a very very frustrating position to be in. Sure your message/email cannot be conveyed through the Internet (at least we still have SMS and newspapers) and sure it is very bad for companies that rely on the Internet to do business.

In the end, Do you as an individual feel terrorised by being denied online services? (a good note here to make is that ISPs can contain Internet connectivity within country’s borders (i.e.,when being attacked from PCs in other countries) therefore, theoretically, online commerce within the imaginary country borders is possible.)

Links used:

[1] TheRegister.co.uk - Russian cybercrooks turn on Georgia - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/11/georgia_ddos_attack_reloaded/

[2] Shadowserver Foundation - The Website for the President of Georgia Under Attack - Politically Motivated? - http://www.shadowserver.org/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Calendar.20080720

[3] Ottis Rain, (2008) ‘Analysis of the 2007 Cyber Attacks Against Estonia from the Information Warfare Perspective’, 4th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security, University of Plymouth, UK

[4] Wikipedia - Cyber-terrorism - (correct on the date of this blog post) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber-terrorism