Streetwise Professor

August 6, 2009

Resetting Twitter, Russian Style

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 8:51 pm

I don’t Twitter, and a good thing that, at least today:

For the early adopters of Twitter who have been around for a while,  Twitter’s two-hour outage this morning may not seem unusual. What makes this morning’s outage different from past failures is that this time Twitter fell prey to a denial-of-service attack.

Dedicated denial of service attack.  Hmm.  Like in Estonia during the Bronze Soldier conflict.  Like in Georgia during the war last year.

But why would anybody target Twitter–and Facebook, and Blogger, and Youtube, and LiveJournal?  Well, for the same reason that somebody would attack Estonia and Georgia: because they had the audacity to cross Russian nationalist thugs.  Well, “they” isn’t right.  “He” is right.   These sites were attacked because they hosted accounts from a single individual who supports Georgia:

A pro-Georgian blogger with accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal and Google’s Blogger and YouTube was targeted in a denial of service attack that led to the site-wide outage at Twitter and problems at the other sites on Thursday, according to a Facebook executive.

The blogger, who uses the account name “Cyxymu,” (the name of a town in the former Soviet Republic) had accounts on all of the different sites that were attacked at the same time, Max Kelly, chief security officer at Facebook, told CNET News.

“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.”

. . . .

Twitter  was down for several hours beginning early Thursday morning, and suffered periodic slowness and time-outs throughout the day.

“The people who are coordinating this attack, the criminals, are definitely determined and using a lot of resources,” Kelly said. “If they’re asking our infrastructure to generate hundreds of pages a second, that’s a lot of pages our users can’t see.”

Facebook and Google were able to minimize any impact to their sites. Facebook even managed to keep the Cyxymu account accessible to Web surfers from that region, Kelly said, although it was inaccessible to people in other geographic areas, including San Francisco.

These are truly sociopathic bastards, so obsessed with silencing anyone who opposes their twisted vision that they will vandalize indiscriminately networks relied on by millions for myriad purposes.

Hey, you sick bastards, I have an idea: why not try to engage your adversary in a civil debate?  Or even an uncivil one.  But that no doubt would be too challenging for people smart enough to shut down massive computer networks, but not confident enough in the merits of their case to believe that they can prevail in an argument.  Or too lazy and too thuggish to want to try, content instead to use force to silence their opposition.

It’s bad enough when the thuggishness that pervades Russian politics and civil life, such as it is, stays in Russia.  That’s their sty, and to listen to the self-styled Russophiles that comment here, and elsewhere on the internet, they like it that way.  So be it.  But when it spills over to disrupt the lives of millions of others lucky enough to live elsewhere, it’s not just their business anymore.

No doubt there will be no Russian government fingerprints on this, and no doubt, the Russian government per se is not responsible.  But it’s well known that self-same Russian government does nothing to combat the rampant cybercrime and cybervandalism that emanates from within the borders of Russia, that pillar of order, ruled by the all wise Lord of the Power Vertical.

One would hope that this would spur the administration and the Europeans to do something serious about Russian cybercrime, to make the Russian government pay a price for its complicity in it.  I am not holding my breath.

Just where is the reset button on Twitter?

H/T R.

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  1. Interesting, Twitter still seems to be down (or rather you can’t post to it, at least from the Bay Area). That this should result from a bot attack on a single user is more an interesting illustration of the fragility of the Internet, than an indictment of Russian cybercrime. (Assuming that is where the attack originated from).

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — August 7, 2009 @ 12:46 am

  2. Oh yes and as a “self-styled Russophile” I don’t recall voicing support for cybercrime, unless challenging the IP corporate mafia constitutes a cyber-thoughtcrime.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — August 7, 2009 @ 12:48 am

  3. Sorry to bother the phony self-described Streetwise Professor who sounds like yet another incurably sick, rabid Russophobe but what the hell is a twitter and how would you attack one?

    Comment by Roobit — August 7, 2009 @ 1:48 am

  4. Of course, it could also be a trial run. Countries like China and Russia will have seen the power of Twitter during public protests, and will want to know whether it is possible to take the whole site down in a time of crisis.

    Comment by Andy — August 7, 2009 @ 2:30 am

  5. twitter still doesn’t load when you load it in moscow

    Comment by serge morrell — August 7, 2009 @ 6:32 am

  6. English language mass media biases continue to linger on without much in terms of a featured high profile opposition.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 7, 2009 @ 7:46 am

  7. S/O-All complex systems are vulnerable to the predations of sociopaths. The social cost of crime is the value of the networks that are not created due to the risk of such predation, and the resources devoted to defend networks against such crime. To try to deflect blame from the perpetrators by citing the vulnerability of the innocent is beneath you. It is the cyber version of the “she was asking for it” defense. Raise your game, S/O. I know you are capable of it.

    And, recent reports suggest that the attack might have originated from Abkhazia, not Russia. So I am sure that will be the next line of defense. Except that Abkhazia is now the newest satrapy of the Russian criminal empire. (Actually, S. Ossetia is more the criminal outpost. At least some Abkhazians are aware that their “independence” is in name only, and are bridling at that.)

    Roobit–you don’t bother me. You amuse me.

    Cutie Pie. There are people who try to carry Russia’s water in the English (and non-Western generally) media. The problem is that their arguments are so risible that they never gain traction, and soon slip from view. Russia tries mightily to flog its viewpoint in English language media, and pays huge sums (cf. EDM article a couple of days ago) to spread its gospel. The problem is, its efforts (e.g, Russia Blog, Russia Today) are so transparently propagandistic that it does more harm than good.

    So, go ahead. Keep on directing fire at the messenger. It’s the message that’s the problem. Putting lipstick on a snake doesn’t make anybody want to kiss it.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 7, 2009 @ 10:03 am

  8. Professor, I don’t know why folks keep insisting Russia Blog must have been paid for by Russian gov/oligarchs when even the Heritage Foundation, whose Moscow “offices” (really a conference room with a broken sign on the door) happen to be a stone’s throw from the Russian Foreign Ministry, acknowledged that the Russia Blog is a U.S.-backed program. Now why Heritage would choose to put their Moscow office in that location, I leave to your judgement. In Russia when an oligarch gives money to a certain program abroad, everyone assumes the government told him to do so. But when Soros gives money to certain causes in Eastern Europe, it is simply verboten for the U.S. mainstream media (if it knows what it is good for it) to ask whether anyone in Foggy Bottom “encouraged” him to do this. If you ask such questions, you are an Alex Jones nutjob. To even remotely suggest that events ranging from the Orange Revolution to the twitterati of Teheran were at least partially encouraged by Western intelligence agencies is to be a heretic, a conspiracy theorist, or an agent of Kremlin propaganda.

    Lozansky and Mamchur were both trashed by Heritage bloggers for putting on the World Russia Forum last April here:

    Incidentally, Lozansky was also a friend of the late co-founder of Heritage, Paul Weyrich, who publically clashed with the neocons regarding the bombing of Serbia. Weyrich was an old-line “isolationist” right winger who thought after the defeat of the Soviet Empire the U.S. should have pulled back instead of dramatically expanding its military alliances/bases around the world. But I suppose he was either considered too old and sick to matter in Washington or a heretic by his more aggressive “conservative” peers. Whether or not there is some pay to play going on and coordination between think tanks like AEI and Heritage and lobbyists like Scheunemann who work for governments ranging from Saakashvili to Taiwan, I again leave to your judgement. But the facts are there, and complaining about the nearly non-existent Russia lobby in the U.S. is simply pathetic in light of the lavish junkets financed by freedom loving Baltics, Georgians, and Gulf Arabs on behalf of Congress critters. The former seems to be perfectly fine with all the American siloviks, probably because that’s their retirement plan. The latter is not.

    Comment by Steve J. Nelson — August 7, 2009 @ 11:32 am

  9. Steve–you are right. I was incorrect when I suggested Russia Blog is Russia-financed. At least, I don’t have any evidence of that. I should have been more careful. That said, the point holds; Russia Blog is so in the tank, that it is not credible. I can’t decide whether it’s better or worse if they do it for free.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 7, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

  10. SUBLIME DURAK states: “I don’t recall voicing support for cybercrime.”

    Does anyone recall his voicing OPPOSITION to it? How about voicing CRITICISM of the Kremlin for failing to “crush” cybercrime against Estonia and Georgia the same way it “crushed” Georgian military forces last August?


    I don’t recall it either! How odd. How very, very odd.

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 7, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  11. “It’s bad enough when the thuggishness that pervades Russian politics and civil life, such as it is, stays in Russia. That’s their sty, and to listen to the self-styled Russophiles that comment here, and elsewhere on the internet, they like it that way. So be it. But when it spills over to disrupt the lives of millions of others lucky enough to live elsewhere, it’s not just their business anymore.”

    This is, of course, why the policy of “containment” was developed, and why the current adminstration is negligent for having failed to fully implement it after it was foolishing abandoned when the cold war supposedly ended. In fact, Russian hatred for our values never ebbed, they only waited for a chance to strike back, hoping we would drop our guard just as we have in fact done.

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 7, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

  12. Professor

    For sure, some Russian policies are open to legitimate criticism. There’re nevertheless instances where Russian government involved English language entities can do a better job at presenting what’s under-represented in English language mass media at large.

    These points touch on the concern of Russia becoming politically limited to either a uniform United Russia or those who essentially carry on like dupes of others not friendly to Russia. I’m all for a diverse United Russia and the enhancing of other Russian political parties that reflect legitimate interests.

    I don’t see how Russia Blog is worse than the sites you highlight at your blog. (IMO, the best of them being the one listed at the very top. The others come with a definite political slant, which should be read with that understanding.)


    Lozansky and Mamchur are by no means extreme. That some consider them as such is an indicator of the kind of slant out there.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 7, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  13. Russia Blog doesn’t seem to promote Intelligent Design.

    On a somewhat related front, I know many non-Catholics who’ve been quite comfortable at educational institutions like St. John’s University and Notre Dame. Likewise, with non-Jews who’ve attended Brandeis University.

    The point being that Russia Bblog’s affiliation or semi-affiliation with the Discovery Institute doesn’t relate to what you’re driving at.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 7, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

  14. Saying such without much in terms of support “is weak – very weak.”

    Chapman hasn’t dominated the posts at Russia Blog.

    BTW, can’t his recent post be reasonably seen as not so Russian government friendly?

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 7, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

  15. What do you expect from someone who thinks that an anonymous and bigoted site is a better option?

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 7, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

  16. “his screen name is a Latinized version of the spelling of Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, a breakaway Georgian republic….” Isn’t that sweet? Maybe we can find an econ lecturer from Deutschland who is still pining for the return of Konigsberg to the Fatherland? It’s gone gone gone and they need to get over it and stop acting like it’s America’s problem that those territories seceded in 1992-93, long before Putin showed up.

    “If you want to hash it out, go to LR- I’m pretty sure this SWP post is about the Twitter attack” People post about LR here when “she” decides to show up because you cannot comment on La Russophobe blog about who pays for “her” haterade or who she is. Instantly deleted. That breaks the whole attack dog for more respectable types MO.

    The reason folks “name drop” is to point out the hypocrisy of said D.C. institutions with respect to Russia, and the fact that they’re really only doing their masters’ in Foggy Bottom (and dare shall we mention another location in the Virginia suburbs?) bidding anyway. Twitter is just the latest collateral damage, much like the innocent NGOers who get booted out of Russia because some genius thought their company would make for a great legend. There is a permanent machine set up to basically function as anti-Russia, not just anti-Kremlin, that goes beyond simply a “lobby” deep into the bureaucracies themselves. If you doubt that, then no amount of arguing is going to change your mind.

    Comment by Steve J. Nelson — August 8, 2009 @ 4:26 am

  17. Steve–

    Backing away slowly . . . .

    Yes, Twitter is the collateral damage, but not of the “Foggy Bottom masters” of your fevered imagination. It was vandalized by thuggish Russians, or Russophiles in Abkhazia, in their effort to silence somebody they disagreed with. How you could possibly blame this on anybody in the US, in Foggy Bottom, or Northern Virginia, or Hog Scald Hollow, Arkansas for that matter, is beyond me. It betrays all the intellectual defects of a fanatic, defined by Churchill has someone who can’t change their mind, and won’t change the subject.

    This relates directly to S/O’s point about the “Association fallacy.” Yes, it is a logical fallacy to say that a particular association necessarily/logically implies something. But frequently associations are informative, and should not be ignored even if they are not dispositive and must be handled carefully to avoid exaggerating their importance. In my view, connections to DI are more than a little informative, not the least in betraying a predilection to the conspiratorial, something on full display in SJN’s comment.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 8, 2009 @ 8:10 am

  18. SWP:

    You’re mistaken. There is no Chinese wall between the “intelligent design” advocacy of DI and Russia Blog. To the contrary, the BOSS of DI routinely blogs directly on Russia Blog, and blogs about religion.

    Once again, SUBLIME DURAK is simply lying, in classic neo-Soviet fashion, and he ignore his conflict of interest whilst doing so (he himself blogs on Russia Blog). The shameless, malignant dishonesty of this nastly little reptile ought not to be tolerated by civlized people.

    It brings to mind Russia’s brazen, neo-Soviet lies about “genocide” by Georgia in Ossetia. The facts revealed that civlian casualties were TEN TIMES lower than Russia had claimed, and that Russia INFLICTED 40% more civilian casualties on Georgia than Ossetia sustained. So if anyone was guilty of “genocide” it was Russia. The NYT states: ““It was as if senior Russian officials pulled out a dog-eared Soviet propaganda playbook that called for hurling the most outlandish charge, without recognizing that in the modern global media climate, their credibility would quickly suffer if the facts proved otherwise.”

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 9, 2009 @ 6:02 am

  19. LR–I wasn’t denying a connection between DI and Russia Blog. I was acknowledging that to my knowledge Russia Blog is not funded by the Russian government. I understand the connection b/t DI and RB.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 9, 2009 @ 8:13 am

  20. LR – speaking of lies – you blatantly violated The Washington Post‘s editorial guidelines by thuggishly trying to intimidate a Russian girl who was standing up for her country by pointing out, once again, who actually started the war in Georgia. Your behavior wouldn’t be so thuggish if you didn’t hide behind a cowardly mask to do it. While I may disagree with the Professor or rytb, both of whom are pretty obvious in their real identities, the only person the Steve J. ever bashes is an online professional troll persona. That’s the difference between you and me.

    The Post published your rant four months after the original referenced story appeared, and they published you knowing that Kim Zigfeld is a pseudonym and no actual person exists by this name. Why would they do that unless you or the think tank who actually pays for your rubbish has pals over there? Or maybe they just are on autopilot when it comes to publishing anything negative about Russia and so nobody bothered to check, and they ended up breaking their own rules? You tell me which is worse.

    Prof – I have seen firsthand a case of a phone calls from Foggy Bottom when someone stepped out of line in their reporting vis a vis Russia. You have not. I’m not going to discuss that further here. Peace out.

    Comment by Steve J. Nelson — August 9, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  21. SWP:

    Glad to hear it!

    As for funding, the editor of Russia Blog is a Russian citizen educated by the Russian government who relentlessly dissemintates pro-Kremlin propaganda. Russia Blog works in close cooperation with Russia Today and Russia Profile, both of which are directly funded by the Kremlin (indeed, owned by it). Russia Blog routinely holds gatherings attended by Russian government officials. Russia Blog is funded and won’t reveal its funding sources. And DI is aggressively seeking to promote Intelligent Design and religion-state fusion in Russia.

    I think that’s really all you need to know. If DI wants to show RB isn’t funded by the Kremlin, then it needs to lay its financial cards on the table. Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a Kremlin-funded operation. It’s quite possible, of course, that the Russian citizen who runs the blog gets funds from the Kremlin he doesn’t even tell DI about.

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 9, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

  22. Chapman did not seem to be advocating any state-religion fusion, he noted that Russian schoolchildren are given the choice between studying Christianity, Russia’s other 3 main religions, or “secular ethics”. This is in stark contrast to some schools in Britain and the US where some form of religious education is mandatory for a set number of years.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — August 9, 2009 @ 10:56 pm

  23. SUBLIME DURAK continues his amusing landslide of neo-Soviet lies.

    The Russian measure under discussion involves ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS. There is NO religions instruction in American public schools, by Supreme Court order.

    And the only reason DI’s head honcho is ambivalent about it is that it excludes Protestant Christianity, his faith of choice. But he clearly approves of the idea in principle and THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF DI is to teach intelligent design in schools, so that’s hardly surprising. He openly attacks Russia’s claimed intention to teach Islam as a option, and it’s perfectly clear that is only window dressing for the Kremlin. Its close ties to Patriarch Kirill, to whom it has given a veto on legislation, mean any ape can understand only one religion has a chance in Russian schools.

    Apparently, SUBLIME DURAK would like to hold himself out as an avenue of truth regarding a blog WHERE HE HIMSELF PUBLISHES his pro-Kremlin propaganda screeds. That’s a insult to the intelligence of every reader on this blog. Also insulting is the notion that the leader of an organization dedicated to teaching ID in schools would somehow purify himself of that ideolgy when he writes on Russia Blog.

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 10, 2009 @ 7:48 am

  24. BS!

    That “logic” is somewhat akin to saying that everyone linking to LR is a bigot.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 11, 2009 @ 7:17 am

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