The ‘Biggest Attack in History’ slows down Internet
The internet around the world has been slowed down in what security experts are describing as the biggest cyber-attack of its kind in history.
A row between a spam-fighting group and hosting firm has sparked retaliation attacks affecting the wider internet. It is having an impact on popular services like Netflix – and experts worry it could escalate to affect banking and email systems.
[info]Spamhaus, a group based in both London and Geneva, is a non-profit organisation that aims to help email providers filter out spam and other unwanted content. To do this, the group maintains a number of blocklists – a database of servers known to be being used for malicious purposes.[/info]
Recently, Spamhaus blocked servers maintained by Cyberbunker, a Dutch web host that states it will host anything with the exception of child pornography or terrorism-related material. Spamhaus has alleged that Cyberbunker, in cooperation with “criminal gangs” from Eastern Europe and Russia, is behind the attack.
The attackers have used a tactic known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), which floods the intended target with large amounts of traffic in an attempt to render it unreachable.
In this case, Spamhaus’s Domain Name System (DNS) servers were targeted – the infrastructure that joins domain names, such as bbc.co.uk, the website’s numerical internet protocol address.
[blockquote cite=”Mr Steve Linford, Chief Executive for Spamhaus”] We’ve been under this cyber-attack for well over a week. The attack’s power would be strong enough to take down government internet infrastructure. These attacks are peaking at 300 Gbps (gigabits per second). Normally when there are attacks against major banks, we’re talking about 50 Gbps
This was the biggest such attack people had ever seen, the DDoS attack that we have witnessed prior to this was in 2010, which was 100 Gbps. Obviously the jump from 100 to 300 is pretty massive.
[blockquote cite=”Prof Alan Woodward, a cyber-security expert at the University of Surrey”] This knock-on effect is hurting internet services globally, If you imagine it as a motorway, attacks try and put enough traffic on there to clog up the on and off ramps
Spamhaus said it was able to cope as it has highly distributed infrastructure in a number of countries. The group is supported by many of the world’s largest internet companies who rely on it to filter unwanted material and several companies, such as Google, had made their resources available to help “absorb all of this traffic.