Sunday, August 9, 2009

More on the downside of complexity.

The important sentence from the article is:
The attacks and their aftermath show just how vital Web tools and services are becoming to political discourse — and how vulnerable they are to disruption.
According to the NYTimes, last week's attack on Twitter was a skirmish in the Russia v Georgia conflict.
Professor Main Target of Assault on Twitter
"The cyberattacks Thursday and Friday on Twitter and other popular Web services disrupted the lives of hundreds of millions of Internet users, but the principal target appeared to be one man: a 34-year-old economics professor from the republic of Georgia.

During the assault — the latest eruption in a yearlong skirmish between nationalistic hackers in Russia and Georgia — unidentified attackers sent millions of spam e-mail messages and bombarded Twitter, Facebook and other services with junk messages. The blitz was an attempt to block the professor’s Web pages, where he was revisiting the events leading up to the brief territorial war between Russia and Georgia that began a year ago.

The blogger, a refugee from the Abkhazia region, a territory on the Black Sea disputed between Russia and Georgia, writes under the name Cyxymu, but identified himself only by the name Giorgi in a telephone interview. Giorgi, who said he taught at Sukhumi State University, first noticed Thursday afternoon that LiveJournal, a popular blogging platform, was not working for him. “I decided to go to Facebook,” he said. “And Facebook didn’t work. Then I went to Twitter, and Twitter didn’t work. ‘How strange,’ I thought, ‘What a coincidence they all don’t work at once.’ ”

Security experts say that it is nearly impossible to determine who exactly is behind the attack, which disrupted access to Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal and some Google sites on Thursday and continued to affect many Twitter users into Friday evening.

But Beth Jones, an analyst with the Internet security firm Sophos, said the assault occurred in two stages

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