The most popular form of cyberattack anymore is the Distributed Denial of Service attack. These DDoS attacks rarely affect anyone outside of those attempting to access the attacked Web site, but a recent DDoS attack is proving to have widespread effects.
The BBC reports that Spamhaus, an anti-spam outfit, and Cyberbunker, a Web host that will host anything including spam sites, got in a spat recently after Spamhaus blocked a few of Cyberbunker’s servers. In retaliation, Cyberbunker reportedly launched a massive DDoS against Spamhaus.
So, how does this affect the Internet at large? Spamhaus’ DNS servers are under attack, and these servers are what helps convert IP addresses into domain names. Spamhaus hosts servers all around the world so these attacks are slowing down the Internet for everyone.
What’s terrifying about all of this is that Cyberbunker is launching attacks that peak at 300 gigabits per second. To put that into perspective, Spamhaus CEO Steve Linford says that a 50 gigabit attack is enough to bring down a major bank. How is Spamhaus still online then? The distributed nature of the company’s servers ensures that it can stay up amidst the attacks, and companies that rely on Spamhaus’ services, like Google, are reportedly offering up servers to absorb a lot of the traffic.
The attacks have been going on over a week now, and show no sign of slowing down. It’s already being called the biggest cyber attack in history. It’s gotten so bad that five national cyber-police-forces are launching investigations into the incident. There’s no telling when the attacks will die down either. Cyberbunker is reportedly coordinating the attacks, but the actual traffic is said to be coming from criminal outfits in Eastern Europe and Russia.
We’ll continue following this story, and let you know of any developments. It will be interesting to see what will happen if things escalate. Maybe Danny Hillis wasn’t too far off the mark when he argued that the Internet needed a Plan B just in case something like this happened.