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Cyber attack is meant to bury blogger; instead, it makes him a star

August 10, 2009 |  7:27 am

The massive cyber attack last week that security experts said was aimed at silencing a single blogger in the country of Georgia instead made him a global celebrity.

Cyxymu, as he is known on his mostly anti-Russia blog, has been the subject of news reports worldwide ever since he was identified as the target of the attack that took down Twitter for several hours and crippled other popular online services.

"I am not happy that [my] blogs were attacked," said the blogger, speaking on his cellphone from outside the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. "But it is good that I get famous.

"I think Obama knows about me, because he likes Internet news."

The blogger, who declined to give his last name but said his first name is Giorgy, said he has gotten  messages from people in numerous countries who have read his postings on Facebook. (His main blog on the LiveJournal service is still down.)

It was not the first time his blogs were a target. Giorgy said an attack last year shut down his blog from October to May. Afterward, he got messages that if he continued with his blogging, there would be more attacks to "stop you second and third time," he said.

The attack that began Thursday at about 6 a.m. PDT was so huge -- with a hacker-controlled botnet of computers overloading his sites with various kinds of requests -- that it took down Twitter in its wake.

Beth Jones of the Sophos online security company thinks that the disruption of Twitter was accidental "collateral damage" from the attack. But Open Society Institute fellow Evgeny Morozov, writing in a Foreign Policy magazine blog, said he believed the damage to Twitter was an intentional demonstration, a flexing of the "attackers' cyber-muscles by revealing the kind of leverage that Cyxymu's detractors have on the Internet's most popular sites."

Giorgy said the attack will not stop him from continuing his writings, and he has adapted before by changing addresses, making his online soap box a moving target. One of his strategies for the future is to raise funds for a more stable home for his views.

"I want to create a new Internet blog," he said, to be housed on "a server in America."

-- David Colker

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