Interesting tidbit in this New York Times article about the cyber-attack precursor to Russia's invasion of Georgia:
Researchers at Shadowserver, a volunteer group that tracks malicious network activity, reported that the Web site of the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, had been rendered inoperable for 24 hours by multiple D.D.O.S. attacks. They said the command and control server that directed the attack was based in the United States and had come online several weeks before it began the assault.
As it turns out, the July attack may have been a dress rehearsal for an all-out cyberwar once the shooting started between Georgia and Russia. According to Internet technical experts, it was the first time a known cyberattack had coincided with a shooting war.
I'm thinking that it's a coincidence, because there's really no reason for Russia to farm out work like that to the United States - a denial of service attack should be well within the abilities of their local talent. But if not, well, what exactly is going on there? Is the US-based server a "proxy" server? Or have we gone completely through the Tom Clancy looking glass and we're now seeing hotshot "cyber-mercs" who rent out their services to eager, well-heeled governments? Or is it something even weirder than that? The Times article also sees links between the cyber-attacks and a known Russian organized crime group that specializes in online criminal activities such as identity theft and distributing child pornography.
Of course, in the end, it's always the those meddling kids' fault:
A Russian government spokesman said that it was possible that individuals in Russia or elsewhere had taken it upon themselves to start the attacks.
“I cannot exclude this possibility,” Yevgeniy Khorishko, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington, said. “There are people who don’t agree with something and they try to express themselves. You have people like this in your country.”
First, they came for the bloggers ...