News / Science & Technology

Power Cyber-Attack Slows Internet

FILE - A researcher at an IT security software company investigates computer viruses.FILE - A researcher at an IT security software company investigates computer viruses.
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FILE - A researcher at an IT security software company investigates computer viruses.
FILE - A researcher at an IT security software company investigates computer viruses.
What some are calling the biggest cyber-attack ever is reportedly slowing down Internet connections around the world.

At the root of the problem is an apparent dispute between two organizations -- Spamhaus, a group of volunteers who work with companies to monitor and block email spammers, and Cyberbunker, a free-wheeling Dutch web hosting company. Spamhaus allegedly blocked Cyberbunker’s servers because it suspected they were hosting spammers.

Spamhaus now says Cyberbunker is working with Russian and Eastern European hackers to launch what’s known as a “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attack on its Domain Name System servers. DDoS attacks bombard servers with so much dummy traffic that legitimate users are unable to connect.

A spokesman for Spamhaus told the New York Times that the attacks began March 19 and are six times more powerful than similar attacks used to take down sites with robust security like banks or government sites.

According to the Times, CyberBunker's alleged spokesperson Sven Olaf Kamphuis said the reason for the attack was that Spamhaus was "abusing their influence."

The sheer volume of attacks has, according to reports, resulted in sluggish Internet connections around the world.

"The size of the attack, 300gb/sec is impressive, and it appears to be CyberBunker's second bite at the Denial of Service apple having launched a 75gb/sec attack on March 19, which was mitigated by Cloudflare," said Christopher Burgess, author of Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Economic Espionage and Intellectual Property Theft in the 21st Century. "Today's attack is substantially larger and may be taxing the overall net. 

"The distributed nature of the Internet and service providers working in unison is what is making the event manageable on a global scale, though Spamhaus' site was shaky as of 1245 PST, when two attempts were necessary to load the front page. 

According to technology website ARS Tecnica, the attacks represent the "nuclear option, and everyone is at risk of being caught in the blast.""

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