Attack on one user brings down Twitter

The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that yesterday disabled micro-blogging service Twitter could have been targeted at a single anti-Russian blogger.

The Tbilisi-based user, Cyxymu, was targeted in a coordinated DDoS attack that struck at his Twitter, Facebook and YouTube services, according to Facebook’s chief of security, Max Kelly.

"It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his voice from being heard,” Kelly said. "We’re actively investigating the source of the attacks and we hope to be able to find out the individuals involved in the back end and to take action against them if we can."

Cyxymu is the name of a town in the Republic of Georgia that was the subject of a retaliatory invasion by Russian forces exactly one year ago.

“This raises the astonishing thought that a vendetta against a single user caused Twitter to crumble, forcing us to ask serious questions about the site’s fragility,” blogged Graham Cluley, spokesman for security firm Sophos.

Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone said the company would “prefer not to speculate” about the motivation for the attack. "Twitter has been working closely with other companies and services affected by what appears to be a single, massively coordinated attack,” he said.
Ironically, the international attention garnered by the attack may have the opposite effect to that intended: “I may not understand Russian, but anyone cool enough to have a DDoS aimed at them deserves a follow,” posted one user on Cyxymu’s Twitter feed.

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