Russian hackers targeted Georgia’s online infrastructure weeks before the ground invasion began, the New York Times reports. Some experts say attempts to deface and overload Georgian websites began as early as July 20, though exactly who is responsible remains unclear. The Georgian government has pinned the rash of cyberwarfare on the Russian government—a charge Moscow denies.
Online targets included Georgian news agencies along with governmental entities such as Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, the country’s parliament, and its national bank. Experts say the coordination of an online campaign makes sense in 2008: “You could fund an entire cyberwarfare campaign for the cost of replacing a tank tread, so you would be foolish not to,” explains one researcher.