The cyber attacks on Twitter and other popular web services last week disrupted the lives of hundreds of millions of internet users, but the principal target appeared to be one man, reports the New York Times: a 34-year-old economics professor from the republic of Georgia. During the assault, unidentified attackers sent millions of spam eMail messages and bombarded Twitter, Facebook, and other services with junk messages. The blitz was an attempt to block the professor’s web pages, where he was revisiting the events leading up to the brief territorial war between Russia and Georgia that began a year ago. The attacks were "the equivalent of bombing a TV station because you don’t like one of the newscasters," Mikko Hyppönen, chief research officer of the internet security firm F-Secure, said in a blog post. "The amount of collateral damage is huge. Millions of users of Twitter, LiveJournal, and Facebook have been experiencing problems because of this attack." The attacks and their aftermath show just how vital web tools and services are becoming to political discourse–and how vulnerable they are to disruption…

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