Biggest cyber attack in history slows global Internet

The BBC is reporting that an ongoing quarrel between non-profit anti-spam group Spamhaus and Dutch web-host Cyberbunker has now led to cyber-attacks of an unprecedented scale.

Among other services, Spamhaus maintains a block-list of servers known to be used for malicious purposes, such as spam, malware, or illegal content. Servers hosted by Cyberbunker were recently added to the list. Cyberbunker has made a name for itself by stating it will host anything except child porn and terrorism-related materials.

According to the BBC, Sven Olaf Kamphuis, who claims to be a spokesman for Cyberbunker, said in a message that Spamhaus was abusing its position, and should not be allowed to decide “what goes and does not go on the internet”.

Spamhaus has accused Cyberbunker of the attacks, saying Cyberbunker is in cooperation with “criminal gangs” from Eastern Europe and Russia to launch an attack on its servers, reports the BBC.

Cyberbunker has not responded to the BBC requests for comment.

The attacks have taken the form of the classic a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), which attempts to overload servers by sending through more requests for data than the system can handle, thereby locking it up and denying any service to others trying to access it.

While a common form of online attack, the assault on Spamhaus is being conducted on an “unprecendented scale”, reports the BBC. The attacks have targeted the Domain Name Service (DNS) servers of Spamhaus.

Speaking to the BBC on 27 March 2013, Steve Linford, chief executive for Spamhaus said “We’ve been under this cyber-attack for well over a week.”

“These attacks are peaking at 300 gb/s (gigabits per second). Normally when there are attacks against major banks, we’re talking about 50 gb/s,” said Linford.

According to cyber-security expert Prof Alan Woodward at the University of Surrey, the attacks are generating so much Internet traffic that it is spilling over into networks at large, and slowing down global Internet services.

“They are targeting every part of the internet infrastructure that they feel can be brought down. We can’t be brought down. Spamhaus has more than 80 servers around the world. We’ve built the biggest DNS server around,” said Linford.

Linford also claims to have the infrastructure support of large Internet companies that rely on its services, such as Google, who are helping them to “absorb all of this traffic”.

Linford has said that cyber-police teams from five nations have joined the investigation into the attacks, but did not want to reveal more details for fear they may also fall victim of cyber-attacks.

Source: BBC

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Biggest cyber attack in history slows global Internet