Georgia hit by major cyber attack forcing thousands of sites offline

Thousands of websites and a national TV station have been taken out by a major cyber-attack in the eastern European nation of Georgia, according to media reports

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 29 October 2019 10:54

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Thousands of major websites and a national television station have been taken out by a major cyber-attack in the eastern European nation of Georgia. The former Soviet nation has been left reeling after the apparently coordinated attack led to the defacement of over 15,000 pages — many of which were replaced with a photo of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, and the words "I'll be back." Some 2000 were apparently forced offline completely. 

Those affected include the presidential website, non-government organizations, the courts, and numerous private companies, according to the BBC. The outages and disruptions appear to be the result of attackers targeting web hoster Proservice, which reportedly claimed on Monday evening it had been able to recover around half of those sites. Broadcasters Imedi and Maestro have also had services disrupted, with computers at the latter reportedly destroyed in the attacks.

Tim Duntom, MD of Nimbus Hosting said: "This attack should act as a reminder to every national, regardless of their size of wealth that it is essential to invest in safe, secure IT services and operation modern technology systems which are protected against the threat of a cyber attacker."

It’s unclear what the motives for the attack are, although speculation has focused around Russia, which forced nearly all Georgian government sites and banks offline en masse during the 2008 war between the two nations.

Pro-Western former President Saakashvili ruled from 2004 to 2013, but now lives in self-imposed exile after being accused by Tbilisi of abuse of power, which his supporters claim is a politically motivated stunt. "The scale of this cyber-attack is unprecedented, and Georgia will almost certainly have to face vast repercussions once the problem is resolved. 

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