Monday, August 25, 2008

Google serves as first line of defense during Russia's invasion of Georgia (A plug for the cloud)

As reported by the Christian Science Monitor, "As Georgian troops retreated to defend their capital from Russian attack, the websites of their government, also under fire, retreated to Google. In an Internet first, Georgia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reopened its site on Google's free Blogger network and gave reporters a Gmail address to reach the National Security Council."
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Now that the Russians are apparently pulling out of Georgia, the world is rushing to understand if we're at the front end of a new Cold War. One of the things I focused on was the impact of this on the reality of cloud computing for the DoD.

According to the New York Times, "... the attacks against Georgia’s Internet infrastructure began as early as July 20, with coordinated barrages of millions of requests — known as distributed denial of service, or D.D.O.S., attacks — that overloaded and effectively shut down Georgian servers."

Weeks before the "kinetic attack", Jose Nazario of Arbor Networks reported "a stream of data directed at Georgian government sites...". Other Internet technical experts cited this as the first known cyberattack that had coincided with a shooting war.

Assuming that this won't be the last world conflict, this lesson may actually be a good thing for the future of cloud computing.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, "The online attacks forced the website of the president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, to relocate to the United States at Tulip Systems Inc., an Atlanta-based Web-hosting company. Even there it was under continued attack, although it was reachable from a Boston-based computer as of Wednesday [August 13, 2008] afternoon."

If the website was hosted in a globally distributed cloud, how could an adversary even target Georgian government sites with DDOS attack? Distributed defense in the public cloud may be the best thing for DoD.



A timely reference for this would be From Information operations to cyber warfare and a new terrain posted on Selil Blog.

You should also read Kevin Donovan's take on this in his blog.

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