Internet hit by ‘biggest attack ever’;’ disruption causes global slowdown

“A Dutch web-hosting company caused disruption and the global slowdown of the internet, according to a not-for-profit anti-spam organization,” Matt Warman reports for The Telegraph. “The interruptions came after Spamhaus, a spam-fighting group based in Geneva, temporarily added the Dutch firm, CyberBunker, to a blacklist that is used by e-mail providers to weed out spam.”

“Cyberbunker is housed in a five-story former NATO bunker and famously offers its services to any website ‘except child porn and anything related to terrorism.’ As such it has often been linked to behaviour that anti-spam blacklist compilers have condemned,” Warman reports. “It retaliated with a huge ‘denial of service attack.’ These work by trying to make a network unavailable to its intended users,overloading a server with coordinated requests to access it. At one point, 300 billion bits per second were being sent by a network of computers, making this the biggest attack ever.”

Warman reports, “Calling the disruptions ‘one of the largest computer attacks on the Internet,’ the New York Times reported today that millions of ordinary web users have experienced delays in services such as Netflix video-streaming service or couldn’t reach a certain website for a short time.”

Read more in the full article here.

Such “attacks are becoming increasingly powerful, and computer security experts worry that if they continue to escalate people may not be able to reach basic Internet services, like e-mail and online banking,” John Markoff and Nicole Perlroth report for The New York Times. “A spokesman for Spamhaus, which is based in Europe, said the attacks began on March 19, but had not stopped the group from distributing its blacklist.”

Markoff and Perlroth report, “Patrick Gilmore, chief architect at Akamai Networks, a digital content provider, said Spamhaus’s role was to generate a list of Internet spammers. Of Cyberbunker, he added: ‘These guys are just mad. To be frank, they got caught. They think they should be allowed to spam.’ … The heart of the problem, according to several Internet engineers, is that many large Internet service providers have not set up their networks to make sure that traffic leaving their networks is actually coming from their own users. The potential security flaw has long been known by Internet security specialists, but it has only recently been exploited in a way that threatens the Internet infrastructure.”

“Cyberbunker brags on its Web site that it has been a frequent target of law enforcement because of its ‘many controversial customers.’ The company claims that at one point it fended off a Dutch SWAT team,” Markoff and Perlroth report. “‘Dutch authorities and the police have made several attempts to enter the bunker by force,’ the site said. ‘None of these attempts were successful.'”

Read more in the full article here.

34 Comments

  1. WTH – Trench around the building and cut it off.

    Something is wrong here, if the feds want to get in, and can’t. At that point, you call the military.

    Seriously, in the US, if you resist arrest, long enough, it’s no longer and FBI issue, it escalates. In the end, there’s nothing but ashes. – Waco, Texas, for example.

    I am not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s just amazing the amount of patience some governments have.

    -Yeah, we went and knocked on the door, announced “Police, let us in!” But it seems no one was there, so we went home. How do you know? Oh, they said, “Bugger off, no one’s home.”

    1. In Wacko, the fire came from the inside and they actually killed some law enforcement officials to precipitate the incident. Our terrorists make us come to them.

    2. …”Something is wrong here, if the feds want to get in, and can’t. At that point, you call the military”…

      This took place in the Netherlands (no “feds” there). The rules for law enforcement are different than in America; the threshold is a bit higher.

  2. The Internet should never be viewed as a “critical” service. There are rules and governance around critical services that just don’t apply and we don’t want to apply to the Internet. It’s handy to pay your bills on the Internet, but there are (and must be) other ways to do this. Things like Facebook are nice (or whatever), but this should never be confused with life or death stuff. And when it is, we have a big problem!

    1. IThe Internet going down is more serious for us than if all roads around are location suddenly disappeared, along with all phone, mail, fax communication. If the roads, phone etc. disappeared, we’d be fine. If the Internet disappears for a while, we’re dead in the water. I’d call that critical.

      1. What?
        Last I checked, the basic needs of any animal, including humans, to survive are air, food water and shelter. The internet is important but it does not provide infrastructure for the transport of food or water like roads do. it doesn’t provide for warmth or food production like gas lines, water pipes and electricity do. It doesn’t keep our houses and building safe for habitation like the sewer system does.
        It does duplicate the communication provide by mail and telephone services, albeit much faster. But while it may provide for faster, broader communications, most people will pick up a phone to call for emergency assistance, not send an email or do a google search. Yes, modern banking and many financial services depend on the internet but on the hierarchy of needs, banking, financial services and even government don’t even rate a mention. If the Internet disappeared for a while, we would be inconvenienced, not dead in the water. I’d call that non-critical.

      1. A bud, before the 1980’s most people never heard of the Internet. Got along just fine without it for oh couple hundred years.
        Not critical.
        I could shut down my connection and do everything I need without.

        Maybe some of you need to get out of your house and live a little.

        1. That’s as silly as saying, “Before the 1980’s, most people never used a computer.”
          Fact is, TODAY computers are needed to function in business. And so is the Internet. If you are going to have a modern life (as opposed to living like a dark ages peasant), with very few exceptions, your employer relies on the Internet, as does every company that brings you food, snowboards, bikes, clothing, kitchen appliances, chocolate, etc. etc.

        2. All of you saying the Internet is not critical, just Know this as fact..

          Almost all Money, Emergency, Control Monitoring and control controlled through the Internet, you will lose all banking, wireless transfers, emergency infrastructure, ATM, as well as your local banks, supermarkets, Traffic control etc..

          Looks like allot of you that think the Internet as as useful as only how you consume it’s basic services.

          But the lot if you don’t have a clue how we are so tied into the Internet for everything that a collapse of services with complete shutdown would put us back in the dark ages within days, you can’t get your money, you can’t eat.

          Don’t take it lightly, information and studies have been fine to prove that society as we know of would falter within days of not having services, and the biggest one is, Money, your credit card won’t work, mist places take only cash so then what?

          All has to do with ” Tied in infrastructure, and almost all things we do today have that Internet tie”

          Think about it!

          1. I agree that the Internet is important but I happen to live in a city in the United States of more than 1.5 million people that has completely lost electricity twice in the last few years with hundreds of thousands of people not having power or internet for at least three days and many lost it for up to eight days on each occasion. The internet was down for most of the city including banks, government facilities and businesses. ATMs didn’t work and yet we did survive. We didn’t even resort to cannibalism or anything. People were inconvenienced, bank employees had to do a lot more work and neighbors had to help each other.
            Granted, this was only two weeks out of a three year period and only in a city of 1.5 million and services did return gradually over each of the weeks but at the very least it does help illustrate the people can survive. People don’t panic as easily as many people like to think.

            1. Depends what everyone means by “crucial”. Yes, in the scenario you describe, everyone limped along for a couple of weeks. You’re also talking about very localized phenomena, where help can easily arrive from the still-functioning outside if needed. It wouldn’t work for very long, and it wouldn’t work even less, the wider a breakdown might be. I’m using “crucial” to mean the complex functioning of modern society — not mere survival, or limping along through a short-term glitch.

  3. I live in Holland and know this building. Turning off power won’t help, it’s designed to do without external power and water for 10 years. Trench around won’t help either, all lines in and out run through deep lying reinforced concrete tunnels.
    Besides that, the building is simply a data centre and already judged to be a 100% legal operation. One wonders: What power on earth pushes a local government to want to evict one of their bigger employers? NL? NATO? USA?

      1. …not too many years ago when news groups were all the rage (alt.binaries,mac.applications is one that comes to mind), there was a usenet group headquartered in NL called FTD (which, because of its ill-mannered practices of hijacking newsgroups, was colloquially known as Fuck The Dutch). Wonder if this is their revenge against BREIN, an anti-piracy group.

    1. First, offer to let them surrender. Next, find as much plastic wrapping as you can and seal off the building’s air supply and cover with dirt where ever possible. Note: Do not block the front door for a day or two. They may reconsider. Come back in a week or two and remove the bodies. Don’t know if the heat from the computers or the lack of oxygen will hit first.

      Second option: Build a small wall around the building then fill with water until the power shorts out. Flood victims can help you with how well this works. Holland has lots of salt water for this.

      So, if you need other options, just get back to us. I really don’t like SPAM!

  4. This is exactly why I’m struggling to embrace the cloud as anything more than a convenience and will probably not rely on any cloud or internet based services. It’s kind of like building your vacation home right in the middle of the next major battlefield. It’s going to happen, we just don’t know when. War isn’t about territory, it’s about screwing up your opponents economy to the point they can’t gather the resources to keep fighting and have to do what you want them to do.

      1. Not worried about the computers taking over so much as nations with lots of resources being applied to try to gain some perceived advantage. Like the German Nazis perceived advantage in the late ’30s or the American Neo-Cons perceived advantage in the early ’00s. I’m not sure world domination is actually possible for any nation, but world destruction is within the capabilities of several. Not a good thing. Especially when you throw a few non-state actors in the mix who feel like they have nothing to lose and glory to gain.

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