Internet slowed by cyber attack on spam blocker

LONDON Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:40am IST

1 of 2. A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture.

Credit: Reuters/Kacper Pempel/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - One of the largest ever cyber attacks is slowing global internet services and the disruption could get worse, experts said on Wednesday, after an organisation blocking "spam" content became a target.

Spamhaus, a London and Geneva-based non-profit group which helps weed out unsolicited "spam" messages for email providers, said it had been subjected to "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attacks on an unprecedented scale for more than a week.

"Based on the reported scale of the attack, which was evaluated at 300 Gigabits per second, we can confirm that this is one of the largest DDoS operations to date," online security firm Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.

"There may be further disruptions on a larger scale as the attack escalates."

Spamhaus publishes blacklists used by internet service providers (ISPs) to weed out spam in email traffic.

The group is directly or indirectly responsible for filtering as much as 80 percent of daily spam messages, according to Cloudflare, a company that said it was helping Spamhaus mitigate the attack.

"We've been under this cyber-attack for well over a week," Steve Linford, chief executive of Spamhaus, told the BBC. "They are targeting every part of the internet infrastructure that they feel can be brought down."

Perpetrators of DDoS attacks typically target websites by flooding servers with messages from multiple systems so they cannot identify and respond to legitimate traffic.

Paul Vlissidis, group technical director at internet security firm NCC, said the volumes of traffic involved in the attack were having a knock-on effect on the rest of the internet.

Because many computers were involved in the attack, it was difficult to defend against.

"If you have a few computers sending large amounts of traffic you can filter them out easily. When literally thousands and thousands are involved it makes it much, much harder," he told Reuters.

However, according to thinkbroadband, an independent British information website which allows users to test their broadband speed, there appeared to be little evidence of a slowdown.

"Of course it is possible that people may be finding some services or sites they access over the Internet are performing slower than usual ... but there appears to be no evidence to say that UK broadband users have been slowed down across the board," it said on its blog.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle, Kate Holton and Michael Holden; Editing by Peter Graff)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Market Eye

Sensex, Nifty rise to second consecutive record high

Sensex, Nifty rise to second consecutive record high

The BSE Sensex and Nifty on Friday rose to their second consecutive record highs. The 30-share Sensex surged as much as 1.52 percent to an all-time high of 27,762.13. The broader Nifty gained as much as 1.49 percent to a record of 8,291.65.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ban on E-Cigs?

Ban on E-Cigs?

Govt considers ban on e-cigarettes, sale of single smokes.  Full Article 

Commodities

Commodities

Silver futures in India hit four-year low on global cues.  Full Article 

BOJ Policy

BOJ Policy

BOJ shocks markets with surprise easing as inflation slows.  Full Article 

Cost Cutting

Cost Cutting

PM Narendra Modi boots officials out of the first class cabin  Full Article 

Leisure Riding

Leisure Riding

Harley-Davidson woos affluent young Indians with bike culture  Full Article 

Shadow Banking

Shadow Banking

China's shadow banking sector growing rapidly, third largest in world - FSB.  Full Article 

Moody's on India

Moody's on India

Moody's welcomes India's policy steps, but wants to see more.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage