Macedonia For the past three days,
the website of respected Macedonia analyst Dr.
Sam Vaknin has been under attack by Albanian cyber-terrorists.
When one opens the page (www.geocities.com/vaksam),
the following greeting appears: "this page has been hackde (sic)
by metal team." Above this is a graphic of the double-headed
eagle Albanian flag (adopted by the NLA), with the phrase "proud
to be Albanian." Further text in Albanian reads: "f*ck all
Macedonian mothers and everyone who works with Macedonia."
The supreme irony of the attack is that Dr. Vaknin's highly objective
and analytical articles show no particular favoritism and are certainly
not inherently anti-Albanian. A former economic advisor to the Macedonian
government, Dr. Vaknin pulls no punches in his insightful studies
of Balkans economics criticizing Macedonians, Serbians, Albanians,
Croatians, etc., in equal measures.
The more sinister aspect of the attack is that Mr. Vaknin today found
an unwanted guest on his doorstep. It was a laconic local, previously
known to him, who Vaknin termed a "thug for hire." The visitor
said nothing to Vaknin; he seemed to be making a show of intimidation
only, and then turned around and left. Despite the fact that Dr. Vaknin
has received death threats in the past from extremists on various
sides, he is downplaying the danger of this latest attack. "I've
received these threats before," he told me. "But I won't
stop writing. The only thing that infuriates me is that Geocities
has left the hacked site up for three days, and not responded to several
letters from me. All I have received are some bizarre automated responses
asking for more information. I get the impression that there is nobody
The crucial issue here, for Dr. Vaknin, is one of security. "This
reflects very badly on Yahoo/Geocities," he said. "It shows
that their security basically sucks. When you sign up with them, you
have to give your personal information, address, credit card details
can this all become accessible to hackers? This could become grounds
for a lawsuit."
Deliso is a journalist and travel writer with special interest in
current events in the areas of the former Byzantine Empire
the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and Caucasus. Mr. Deliso holds a master's
degree with honors in Byzantine Studies (from Oxford University),
and has traveled widely in the region. His current long-term research
projects include the Macedonia issue, the Cyprus problem, and ethnography
of Byzantine Georgia.