A major cyber-attack has hit Georgia, taking out over 2,000 of the European nation’s websites and the country’s primary TV station.
Judiciary websites have also been affected by the strike, leaving officials fearing for the security of swathes of personal details locked inside legal files.
A graphic displaying Georgia’s former President, Mikheil Saakashvili suddenly appeared on many platforms and screens across the country, accompanied by the caption “I’ll be back.”
While the perpetrators of the attack are not yet known, social media reports are appearing to point the finger at Russia.
Rayhan Demytrie of the BBC, has described how she was told by cyber-security specialists that Georgia’s government webpages were “poorly protected and vulnerable to attack.”
In excess of 15,000 websites have been disrupted by the incident, with non-government organisations, the president’s website and sites belonging to countless private companies caught up by the hack.
The head of news at Georgian TV station Imedi, Irakli Chikhladze, said on Facebook that the broadcaster is without a signal and is thus unable to function as normal.
A second TV network, Maestro, has also been hit, Chikhladze says. Imedi TV was taken off air for around 60 minutes while computers and equipment at Maestro were damaged or destroyed, reports say.
As reported by the BBC, Prof Alan Woodward, cyber-security expert at Surrey University, said:
“The scale of this attack is something we haven’t seen before. With the scale and the nature of the targets, it’s difficult not to conclude that this was a state-sponsored attack.”
Professor Woodward emphasised that the nation’s critical infrastructure does not appear to have been affected, despite the significant disruption caused by the attack.
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