Russia's cyber blockade of Georgia worked. Could it happen here?

Lesson learned: DDoS attacks, as well as the response to them, can cripple a country

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Hard lessons

Worms believes the lessons from the attack are "extraordinarily significant." A DoS attack "is so easy to set up, it's so easy to activate and it is so potentially effective that any country is at potential risk of serious disruption from these tools," he says.

Stephen Spoonamore, a security expert and partner at Global Strategic Partners LLC in Washington, argues that the "echo" effects of attack, which in the case of Georgia was the shutdown of the financial settlement system, can be just as destructive, if not more, than the attack itself.

He says the use of cyberattacks by nation states will only grow. "I think you are going to see it on a regular basis now because it works," he says.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, "We have to be prepared for everything," says Tkeshelashvili. The country is working now to "integrate all the measures" available so it can better protect itself from future cyberattacks, she says.

Georgia is a small country without a sophisticated cyberdefense capability, but NATO is taking the incident seriously. The Russians are believed to have been behind a similar cyberattack in Estonia in 2007, and following that event NATO created a Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence in Tallinn. "The need for a cyberdefense center to be opened today is compelling," said General James Mattis, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, at the opening of the center last year.

Could something similar happen in the U.S.? One IT manager, a Georgian native who works here and didn't want his name used, says it's entirely possible that a foreign government today has hundreds of servers in various commercial hosting sites in the U.S. at the ready for just such a thing.

Next: Cyberwar's first casualty: Your privacy

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon