If you were miffed at not being able to tweet your innermost thoughts and random musings to your followers yesterday, or post that smartypants comment on a friend’s Facebook status update, blame politics. Turns out the reason why Twitter was knocked down for hours, while Facebook users had trouble logging in and posting to their profiles on Thursday was a Georgian blogger who uses both services.
According to CNET, which cites Facebook’s chief security officer Max Kelly, the blogger also has accounts in LiveJournal and Google’s Blogger and YouTube platforms, and goes by the name of Cyxymu, which is the name of a town in Georgia. Kelly told CNET:
“It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his voice from being heard.”
Now, for those who don’t follow international politics closely, here’s why the pro-Georgian blogger may have been targeted. August 8 marks the first anniversary of the war that broke out between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia. Russia sent troops into the separatist region last year, which Georgia claims forced it to launch a counter-offensive. Some other folks say the war started on August 7, 2008. So it was probably no coincidence that the Web attack on Cyxymu, the blogger who blames the attack on Russia, took place on the eve of the war’s anniversary.
Whatever the date, one thing is clear: the more Twitter becomes a communication tool in zones of conflict, the likelier it is to become a target for hackers with political motives. The micro-blogging service obviously needs to step up security so that hack attacks don’t shut it down. After all, regular folks like MC Hammer still need to get to the airport.