As news broke yesterday about the Denial of Service (DoS) attacks affecting Twitter, revelations began to unfold about how widespread the attacks really were. Facebook slowed down and produced error pages. LiveJournal experienced downtime as well.
While Google didn't go down, they were affected. This statement from a Google spokesperson explains their involvment:
We are aware that a handful of non-Google sites were impacted by a DoS attack this morning, and are in contact with some affected companies to help investigate this attack. Google systems prevented substantive impact to our services.
While not explicitly saying they were attacked, I think it's pretty clear they're just more prepared for malicious attacks of all kinds.
Of course, they've been around for a longer period of time than Facebook, Twitter and LiveJournal. But social media sites are going to have to beef up their security, especially considering the nature of the attacks.
It turns out that the attacks were aimed at a Georgian blogger who had accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, YouTube and Google's Blogger. While not confirmed, it seems pretty obvious to anyone following events in the region, that Russia could be behind the attack.
As Patrica Skinner at Search Engine Journal points out, this isn't the first time Russia has been involved in a cyberwarfare attack. Plus, it's hardly a coincidence any longer that the US Marines this week were barred from using social media.
All of this comes the same week that the acting White House Cybersecurity Czar stepped down. Melissa Hathaway resigned just months after replacing the last Cybersecurity Chief, Rod Beckstrom, left the post. Beckstrom left because cybersecurity is mostly handled by the NSA, a division of the Department of Defense. Beckstrom felt that cybersecurity should be handled by a civilian agency.
Hathaway left after being marginalized by political opponents within the White House. She was a holdover from the Bush administration, who lost favor with Obama's economic advisors when she said there should be cybersecurity regulations for the private-sector.
Hopefully, this week's attacks will encourage bipartisan action on addressing what is increasingly becoming very serious cybersecurity threats.