Talking with Tulix systems
01 December, 2011
Talking with Tulix systems

Few weeks ago my personal blog (experimentindesign.wordpress.com) was subject to hacking, and if you have never been hacked, I must tell you it is an infuriating feeling. When I realized what was happening, I did the only thing I could do; I went to look for a company that would  move my website to a secure location. Tulix Systems INC, a company that amongst other things specializes in digital media security, was just that company. Dr. Nino Doijashvili and Dr. George

Bokuchava, the founders of Tulix were happy to offer solutions to my hacking problems as they have become experienced in the field since 2008, when they helped defend Georgian internet from Russian sponsored attacks. I recently sat down and  spoke to Dr. Nino Doijashvili about their role in the war.

 

K.E.- “How did you come to be in Tbilisi during the August war of 2008?”

N.D.- “You know, we visit Georgia every winter, and it was the first time we decided to visit in the summer. We were flying with Lufthansa from Germany to Georgia, but there was a danger of a Lufthansa strike, so I was watching the news to see if anything of that sort was going to happen.  I remember seeing news on Tskinvali; there were bus loads of people being evacuated out. It was July 29th, and I didn’t think much of it until days later it became obvious that they were clearing out the city because it was a set up. Anyway, we flew into Georgia and were supposed to go to Batumi on the 6th of August, but thank God we didn’t because we wouldn’t have been as helpful to our country if we had.”

K.E.-“You had a chance to leave with the American embassy, but you refused because you knew you wanted to help. How did you think you could help?”

N.D.- “It is true that we were offered to be taken to Yerevan, and our phones were buzzing with US friends who kept telling us to ‘just get out of there’ . We decided that we were home and we were not going to be chased out of it. I am glad we stayed, not just because we helped our country, but because if I hadn’t been there I would have had a different outlook on my past. Because I stayed and I saw what I saw, I can now say I grew up in an occupied country. To me it is now clear.”

As the real and virtual fighting were unfolding Doijashvili and Bokuchava were busy defending against thousands of attacks online they  realized that Georgia needed more help. They offered to move the main websites in Georgia under attack, to the State of Georgia in the US, where the rest of the Tulix team was working on hosting and fending off attacks. The news of the move reached  the Associated Press and they called Doijashvili for a comment.

N.D.- “I was surprised. I asked them how did they know what we were doing. And they said that because we had moved the websites to our servers,  the hackers were hacking on the US soil and US agencies were monitoring and recording an unusual hacking activity and it lead them to question who was doing this and why.”

K.E.- “As far as virtual fighting vs. real fighting, what were you able to do?”

N.D.- “We helped to determine and validate that  there was a well organized crime against the Georgian internet. What we did was defend and more importantly we  established where attack was coming from and that the attack was very well organized, meaning that it was seriously funded. This is very important because when you are being simultaneously  attacked by fifteen hundred thousand computers , the information gets scrambled enough that you shouldn’t be able to find the origin, that is what the hackers depend on. But, we can and we did.”

K.E.- “What do you do with the information gathered?”

N.D.- “We use it to analyze the patterns used to attack and infiltrate  and  that in turn  helps us to safeguard more efficiently. Unfortunately, there is no law to persecute cyber warfare, but recently United Sates has come out and stated officially that it considers cyber warfare to be the next stage of war and I think the law will catch up to that.”

Since its creation in 2001 Tulix Systems has expanded with  SaaS (Software as a Service) such applications as Freewebtown, Musicwebtown, Videowebtown, IaaS (infrastructure as a Service) - Cloud and VPS hosting and  PaaS (Platform as a Service) offering live streaming and video streaming solutions. The company, in a partnership with GTN technologies (Georgian corporation), is now offering their services in Tbilisi, Georgia.

N.D.- “One of our goals is to build a Data Center in Georgia to be comparable to the world class Data Center we have in Atlanta, GA. We want to provide world class services for Georgians and also to attract surrounding countries.”

K.E.- “Who are your customers and why should new customers pick Tulix Systems over other providers?”

N.D.- “We prefer our clients to be small and medium sized businesses and  whoever wants their business to be viewed outside of Georgia. For example we host travel agencies, where email service is important.  Most Georgians use gmail and yahoo, but I would encourage to use the company domains to have secure and professional email connection. Why should they pick us? Well, it’s a personal choice. Whoever picks us needs to feel our value. We are proactive, we feel like we need to grow and support the business that hires us and we always give much more than anybody else, because of our roots, because of our knowledge of our country and culture.”

K.E. – “You have said that you like to visit Georgia quite often. What is your favorite place to visit when you go to visit Georgia?”

N.D. – “We try to go everywhere: Pasanauri, Bazaleti lake, Khevsureti,  Kartli, Kobuleti,  Batumi, Poti. But mountains are kind of my passion. We went to Gudauri, right before the war started, we drove through different gorges, and it is so beautiful there. We stayed in Barisakho with a host family, which was like a Bed and Breakfast place. It was a great experience for us and t’s good business for Georgian families who live there.

K.E.- “Is there any place you haven’t visited, that you would like to go to?”

N.D.- “Everyone keeps telling us to go to Kvareli lake, and Lapota lake. One of these days, I promised myself, we will go and visit.”

This has been the last installment of the series of Georgia to Georgia interviews with Georgian nationals who live in the State of Georgia. We hope you have enjoyed the series.

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