Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, center, speaks to journalists and supporters in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2017. He took refuge in Ukraine after Georgian prosecutors sought to bring corruption charges against him. (Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW — A cyberattack afflicted 2,000 websites in Georgia on Monday, the local press reported, including those of the president, courts, several mayors’ offices and three television channels. The hacker or hackers took over the sites and displayed a photo of former president Mikheil Saakashvili with the words, in English, “I’ll be back.”
According to local news sites, it was the largest cyberattack in the country since 2008, when Russians are suspected to have launched an assault as the two nations were briefly going to war with each other.
Analysts said that Monday’s action was not very sophisticated but that it shows the weakness of Georgia’s cybersecurity.
Saakashvili lives in Ukraine, where he took refuge after Georgian prosecutors sought to bring corruption charges against him.
Pro-Service, a Georgian hosting company, said the breach to its system led to disruption of clients’ websites , ZDNet reported. About half of the sites had been restored by early Tuesday morning.
Radio Liberty’s Georgian service reported that a majority of local city councils use a Russia-based email service and that many officials and other Georgians rely on a ride-sharing company based in Russia — suggesting that attention to cybersecurity is lax at best. There was no evidence Monday night that the attack had come from Russia, but it is an obvious suspect for many in Georgia. A criminal investigation has been launched.
Source: In echo of 2008 war with Russia, Georgia hit with massive cyberattack – The Washington Post