Georgia hit by massive cyber attack

Users on social media speculate that Russia might be behind the attack.

Georgian national flag waves at half-mast outside Tbilisi, Georgia, February 25, 2016. (photo credit: DAVID MDZINARISHVILI/REUTERS)
Georgian national flag waves at half-mast outside Tbilisi, Georgia, February 25, 2016.
(photo credit: DAVID MDZINARISHVILI/REUTERS)
 A massive cyber-attack hit websites and some media sources in Georgia, as well as the Caucasian state's national TV station, BBC News reported on Monday.

The agency's Caucasus correspondent Rayhan Demytrie said users on social media were speculating that the attack, that also targeted websites containing case materials and personal data, was perpetrated by the Russian Federation, according to the BBC.
Demytrie said she was told by cyber-security experts that Georgian government websites were "poorly protected and vulnerable to attack."

"The scale of this attack is something we haven't seen before," said Professor Alan Woodward, a cyber-security expert at Surrey University to BBC News, referring to the attack that targeted more than 2,000 government-owned, NGO and private websites.

"With the scale and nature of the targets," Woodward added, "it is difficult not to conclude that this was a state-sponsored attack."

The attackers replaced, on many cases, website home pages with a picture of Georgia's former president Mikhaeil Saakashvili. Under the photo a caption read, "I'll  be back."
Saakashvili served two terms as the state's president between 2004 and 2013, and is known for his role in the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 and the Russian occupation of northern Georgia.

He fled to Ukraine, giving up his Georgian citizenship in 2015 after becoming the governor of Ukraine's Odessa district after the Ukrainian revolution of 2014, also known as the "Euromaidan."

Saakashvili was deported from Ukraine in 2018, but his citizenship was later restored in May 2019, the BBC explained. He is wanted in Georgia for criminal charges, which he sees as politically motivated.