INFORMATION SECURITY STUDIES AND ANALYSIS CENTER

CYBER ASPECTS OF RUSSO-GEORGIAN WAR

Ana Sulakvelidze
Student of Information Security Studies and Analysis Center

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******* Current document represents educational material and it is based on non-classified sources and on personal observations. In case of any other kind use of this publication, author is not responsible. The opinions and recommendations represented by this document should not be considered as official position of INFORMATION SECUIRTY STUDIES AND ANALYSIS CENTER, which by itself represents this document.

© Ana Sulakvelidze
All Rights Reserved.

It is strictly forbidden copying and redistribution of this document, without authors agreement.

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CYBER ASPECTS OF RUSSO-GEORGIAN WAR

Russo-Georgian War of August 2008 was alarming for the international community not only because it was an open attempt of a big and strong state to occupy its little and weak neighbor, but also because this conventional war was

accompanied by the cyber attacks on Georgian cyberspace. Worthy to note, that cyber attacks on several weeks before the conventional war Georgian cyberspace started

via social networks, media, and generally

internet1. Nevertheless, the Russian special agencies understood clearly that the massive cyber attacks on Georgian cyberspace would yield more effective results if implemented during the conventional war. The cyber attacks on Georgian cyberspace disrupted the majority of Georgian government websites and pro-Georgian political web-portals2. As a result,

Georgia experienced complete information vacuum, which meant for the country almost a deadlock; obviously, the country, which is engaged in an unequal war with the powerful neighbor, can only rely on the international assistance and support. In such situation an information vacuum automatically meant for Georgia a stalemate. The cyber attacks on Georgia were accomplished according to the popular Botnet scheme where several computers were coordinated in a group, and a chief computer ascribed to each group computer a particular task; the group computers with the different specific tasks sent a deluge of internet traffic to the victim computers in order to cause DDoS problem (Denial-ofService).
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Cyber Report 2008-2010. Lasha Pataraia. Ibid

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As I mentioned earlier, the international community paid a noteworthy attention to the cyber attacks on Georgian cyberspace in August 2008. Several articles and publications were published in the top newspapers and magazines of the world. John Markoff started his article in New York Times stating that, the cyber attack on Georgian cyberspace began as early as July 20 when the DDoS attack was implemented on president Saakashvili¶s webpage3. It appeared quite difficult for experts and international community to determine whether the Russian government, Russian intelligence agencies, or simply ³patriot´ Russian hackers were responsible for these attacks. Nevertheless, an attempt to disconnect Georgia during the Russo-Georgian conventional war was obvious.

Furthermore, there were several suggestions from the independent experts and Georgian government officials about Russia¶s ³strong connection´ cyberspace; moreover, to the attacks on Georgian

the possible involvement of the Russian shadowy business

organization, called Russian Business Network, was also suggested by the Georgian party and the independent expert community. 4The Shadowserver Foundation contended that one of the six used servers in the aforementioned attacks was of Russian origin, and that the implemented Botnet scheme was very similar to those schemes generally used by the Russian hackers5. Finally, cyber aspects of Russo-Georgian war of August 2008 are significant for the whole international community, because this attack on Georgian cyberspace was the first cyber
Before the Gunfire. John Markoff. New York Times. 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/technology/13cyber.html 4 NATO and Cyber Defense. 173 DSCFC 09 E bis. http://www.nato-pa.int/default.asp?SHORTCUT=1782 5 Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence (CCDCE). Cyber Attacks Against Georgia: Legal Lessons Identified.
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attack which coincided with the conventional war. On the other hand, this experience is priceless for Georgia and its future development regarding digital technologies. While

Georgia is a newcomer in cyberspace, the cyber attacks of 2008 led the country to realize how important cybersecurity is for the national security, and how immature Georgia is in the field. Additionally, the scrupulous analysis of the cyber aspects of Russo-Georgian war allowed the international community to apprise an existing situation in the whole range.

In sum, regardless that the Georgian cyberspace is far from being secure and standardized, the process of cyberspace standardization should certainly start in Georgia in the nearest future in order to ensure proper development of the nation.

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ABOUT THE CENTER Information Security Studies and Analysis Center is the first and only in the Caucasus region oriented towards the field of Information Security. Establishment of the organization was caused by the new reality to develop after 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict. The war in 2008 showed us that there were no systems developed so far to provide protection against the means of informational warfare and cyber-terrorism, this equally is a challenge to both public and private sectors. Non-existence of respective law basis, governmental institutions and appropriate means to fight against cyber-crime and cyberterrorism affects not only the homeland security but economy of the country also. Currently in both private or governmental sectors there are modern technologies actively implemented, the bigger is the process automation scale the more dificcult is its control. In the conditions where there are espionage and other security challenges, that are of a technological character, there are new threats to rise, consequently security of the information becomes vital to not only governmental organizations, but private sector also. Opposite to the named above threats and challenges our organization gathered a team of experienced professionals, that gives us the opportunity for the first time in Georgia to establish institutional mechanisms to fight cyber-terrorism, piracy, corporate espionage and so on.

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OUR SERVICES We offer unique services to private and governmental sectors, such as: y y y y y y y y y Training of specialists in the fields of Information Secuirty, intelligence and antiterrorism; Staffing; Training to different type of employees of private and governmental sectors; Audit in terms of informational security aspects and preparation of respective recommendations; Development of standards and SOPs; Creation of organizational units for threat monitoring and incident reaction; Consultancy in IT infrastructural issues, legal part of IT projects; Development of software/hardware solutions, provision and implementation; IT outsourcing, protected hosting on US servers, domain registration and etc.

The first priority to the center still remains study of the technological, geopolitical and military challenges existing in the country, at the same time in-depth analysis of such, and timely provision of the objective information to public. For this purpose analytical unit of ISSAC periodically prepares and publishes analysis of modern threats and global trends. We are maximally transparent in our activities and we help out those interested in these fields, we give them knowledge base and encourage them to become part of the various projects conducted by the center. Our goal is to cooperate with as much governmental institution and educational units as possible in order to ensure more effective fight against modern threats, create general/common standards and means of implementation of these standards, increase the quality of informationin this field to the society and provide our services to those who really needs it.

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This publication was downloaded from E-LIBRARY portal of INFORMATION SECURITY STUDIES AND ANALYSIS CENTER

http://www.issac.ge

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