Interior ministry, Georgian Dream report cyber attacks on party, state agency websites

  • The cyber attacks were reported on Tuesday as political tensions rose in Georgia following arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia. Photo: Bruno Cordioli on Flickr., 23 Feb 2021 - 14:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and the ruling Georgian Dream party have reported ongoing cyber attacks on their websites on Tuesday, with party chairperson Mamuka Mdinaradze telling local media the "massed" digital operation was aimed at "destabilising" the political situation in the country.

Mdinaradze said in comments to the press "all party websites" and interior ministry pages were under attacks that prevented uploading of news material and releases but expressing confidence professionals would "soon solve the issue".

The party official told reporters an investigation would reveal people "behind a plan for destabilisation" while speaking about the digital attack following the arrest of United National Movement opposition party leader Nika Melia earlier in the morning.

"A massed cyber attack is ongoing against both the Georgian Dream websites and those of state agencies. We believe it to be part of a plan the [opposition] could not succeed in today - ultimately, they did not dare resist the law, resist the state," the ruling party official said.

Relating the attack on his party's online resources with the arrest, the Georgian Dream chairperson said the government would withstand any "additional destructive measures" undertaken against it, as political tensions reached a high point during the early part of the day.

On its part, the interior ministry reported attacks originating from "a number of countries" against its "computer infrastructure", noting digital security services of the ministry had neutralised the action and launched an investigation into its origins.

Opposition leader Melia was arrested at UNM offices by what was reported by local press as "special forces", with opposition members and activists also present on the scene. The party head was arrested after refusing to pay bail on the case of his participation in the June 20, 2019 protest that turned violent in front of the Parliament of Georgia.