Thursday morning saw the massive Denial of Service (DDOS) take down of Twitter, Facebook and some other connected social media sites. Reports are now surfacing that the attacks might have been initiated by the Russian government against one particular political blogger in the Republic of Georgia. ABC reports that a professor who goes by the name “Georgy” claims he is the target of the DDOS attacks in an effort to shut down his blogging efforts about political refugees from Abkhazia.

Georgy makes the excellent point that whoever took down the popular social media site had some deep pockets. “It’s hard to say who did it but I looked at how it was done and it definitely cost a lot of money. An operation like this couldn’t have been done by a group of enthusiasts.” said Georgy. While this may sound like a crackpot theory, there may be something here, and may have been confirmed by a very unlikely source: Biz Stone (owner of Twitter) who said;

The ongoing, massively coordinated attacks on Twitter this week appear to have been geopolitical in motivation. However, we don’t feel it’s appropriate to engage in speculative discussion about these motivations. The open exchange of information can have a positive impact globally and our job is to keep Twitter services running reliably to the best of our ability.

Even Biz himself seems to think there may be a “geopolitical motivation”. He doesn’t elaborate, but if anyone would be suspicious of a government involvement with the take down of Twitter, Biz probably would. TechCruch has also received reports of political motivations behind the Twitter attack, most likely emanating from Russia. This brings up an interesting angle of cyber-security. We saw during the Iranian elections how successful (?) Twitter was at coordinating meetings and rallies, so obviously it’s become an important political tool. As such, I hope that Biz and Twitter figures out a way to monetize very soon. If they can’t protect against a simple DOS attack (which have been around since the 1990s), then Houston, we have a problem. Now, are they responsible for International free speech? No, of course not. But, if Twitter is going to be the pulse of the Internet and the world, it’s clear they need better security.

Twitter is not out of the woods yet, they are still fighting these DOS attacks, and in fact there is evidence that the attacks have intensified. Tweetdeck seems to be working for me right now, but I’ve had issues with Tweetie and other apps using Twitters API, including Facebook and Friendfeed.


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