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:

Reuters Showcase

GDP Growth

GDP Growth

India revises up 2013/14 GDP growth to 6.9 percent.  Full Article 

Pharma Deal

Pharma Deal

Sun Pharmaceutical wins U.S. approval to buy Ranbaxy  Full Article 

Adani Restructuring

Adani Restructuring

Adani hives off power, ports businesses to boost growth.  Full Article 

Bank of Baroda

Bank of Baroda

Q3 net profit down 69 pct on higher provisions  Full Article 

Trading Fees

Trading Fees

BSE slashes fees in FX derivatives battle with NSE  Full Article 

SpiceJet Turnaround

SpiceJet Turnaround

SpiceJet board approves up to $243 mln share sale plan  Full Article 

Currency Market

Currency Market

RBI urges companies to hedge FX exposure  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

Banks say no room to cut lending rates, thwarting RBI easing  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

RBI seen holding rates steady on Tuesday, minority of analysts expect cut  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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