Largest cyberattack in history slows down Internet
The attack, which began March 19 and is still ongoing, threatens to disable Spamhaus's blocking activity and could result in a torrent of junk mail flooding users' inboxes • Already on Wednesday, millions of inboxes received mail inviting them to purchase Viagra pills, including users in Israel.
Email servers and video feeds worldwide experienced a slow down as a result of the largest cyberattack in history. The target of the attack was the London and Geneva based Spamhaus Project, an organization which aims to rid the world of scam and junk mail.
Spamhaus maintains a list of email addresses known to send malware and other undesirable content, and helps email providers filter out potentially harmful mail. The attack on Spamhaus's servers began after the group successfully blocked websites selling fake medicine and Viagra pills. In February, the organization added the servers of Holland-based Cyberbunker, a site that contains, according its own description, everything "except child porn and anything related to terrorism," to the blocked list. The move apparently was not well received by the spammers, and they proceed to mount a coordinated cyberattack on an unprecedented scale on Spamhaus's servers.
The attack, which threatens to disable Spamhaus's spam blocking activity, could result in a torrent of junk mail flooding users' inboxes. Already on Wednesday millions of inboxes received mail inviting them to purchase Viagra pills, including users in Israel.
A spokesperson for Spamhaus stated on Wednesday that the attack, which began March 19 and is still ongoing, is the largest of its kind in history. The cyberattack was aimed at Spamhaus's Domain Name System servers, which are directly connected the basic infrastructure of the Internet. The spammers flooded the site at rates of up to 300 gigabits per second, in the process taking down banks and websites protected by the strongest possible security measures. It is the extreme overloading of the DNS servers that apparently caused the Internet slow down.
Web giants Google and Amazon came to Spamhaus's aid and helped lighten the burden on some of the servers, while police in Germany and four other countries stated that they were investigating the attack.
Cyberbunker has been fingered as the culprit of the attack, even though the website can obfuscate the source of the attack and has not admitted to being behind it. Spamhaus holds Cyberbunker and gangs from Eastern Europe and Russia responsible. The massive scale of the attack requires sealing off every source, and with origins of the attacks being so numerous there is still much work to be done.
Information security company Maglan Chairman Shai Blitzblau said a war was being fought against spammers and a German company which has gone out of control, and that it is not known when it will end. Blitzblau said the attack will primarily effect private users.
Cyber security expert and Nyotron founder Nir Gaist said that if a private company is capable of mounting such a large attack, it could be used for cyberterrorism as well.