The hacker reportedly defaced over 2,000 websites that include the official Georgian Website, Local TV Channel, & Local Newspapers

Georgia, the small Eurasian country, was shaken in what is said to be the largest cyberattack in its history on 28th October, 8 pm (local time). The attack impacted over 2,000 websites hosted on Pro-Service, various government agencies, private companies, banks, courts, local newspapers, and TV channels.

The local web hosting provider, Pro-Service, claimed that they were the main target of the attack and have stepped up taking the responsibility. Since then, they have worked closely with the country’s Internal Affairs department recovering most of the affected sites, which are now up and running.

Panic in Georgia

The cyberattacks caused panic in Georgia, although the attack can be termed as a classic website ‘defacement’ where the old content of a particular site was replaced by a seemingly political instigating comment. In this case, it was replaced by the image of the self-exiled former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, with the message, ‘I’ll be back’; laid on top.

President Saakashvili served Georgia for consecutive two terms between 2004 and 2013, giving up his Georgian citizenship when he became the governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region. He was subsequently deported from Ukraine in 2018 after a fallout with his predecessor, but his Ukrainian citizenship was restored in 2019. He is wanted in Georgia for multiple criminal and corruption charges.

Similarities to 2008 Cyber Attacks

During the 2008, 5-day Ruso-Georgian War, Georgia faced similar cyberattacks, where Russian hackers used BGP hijacking that re-routed Georgian net traffic through Russian servers and defaced several Government and Official websites. TV & Radios were on a blackout back then owing to the number of Russian hackers interfering with them.

Georgian citizens were quick to link the current cyberattack to the 2008 attack, although there has been no concrete evidence to support this theory. And they were not the only ones to come to that conclusion. Even though the origin of the attack remains unknown, BBC Caucasus correspondent, Rayhan Demytrie was also quick to suspect Russian involvement, owing to the similarity between the cyberattacks during in 2008.