A major DDoS attack destabilizing Internet

A major DDoS attack destabilizing Internet


SpamHaus, a company based in Switzerland operates on black listing servers which deliver mass spam mailings (DDoS). SpamHaus is thus said to be able to block 80% of unsolicited mails. However, from March 18th and during a few, this company and that of many networks have seen their operations disrupted by large-scale DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. This began just after the Swiss company integrated in its blacklist CyberBunker, a Dutch site, suspected to relay spam.

The New York Times interviewing a CyberBunker representative relayed these attacks were made in retaliation against SpamHaus which is considered as abusing its influence. During these attacks, Internet exchange points in London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, where networks interconnect in large cities, were also targeted. The attack itself is not new, but what is worrying is its easy implementation: indeed, hackers have taken advantage of the vulnerability of DNS servers to multiply the force of these attacks to achieve 300 gygabites of data per second, which is more than enough to block servers.

Specifically, hackers pose as their victim (inthis case Spamhaus) and ship a large number of requests for conversions to open DNS. These directories then convert the URL entered in the browser IP addresses, to join the computers on which websites are hosted. Response files are then sent to the victim, which is overwhelmed by the connections. The effect is quite strong, as the size of the answers is much more important than the queries.

Internet has almost been cut off for several hours, with much delays on all types of Internet connections: PC or mobile access. Five countries are already investigating the attack, according to the BBC.
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