Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cyberpunk Radio #71 - Internet Attack!

Breaking news from the dark fiber feed

Hackers briefly overwhelmed at least three of the 13 computers that help manage global computer traffic Yesterday in one of the most significant attacks against the Internet since 2002.

Vast amounts of data flooded the internet, but unlike previous one way denial of service attacks, last nights attacks involved the two way transfer of data from innumerable servers. In addition, anomalous fluxes in the overall data flow were observed- leaving world experts baffled and increasingly nervous as they ponder the potential origins and consequences of these anomalies.

Donna Kay Honey & the Cowpokers - "Cyber Cowboy"

Richard Hunter - "Tongues of Machines"

Experts said the unusually powerful attacks lasted as long as 12 hours but passed largely unnoticed by most computer users. Computer scientists worldwide raced to cope with enormous volumes of data that threatened to saturate some of the Internet's most vital pipelines.

The Homeland Security Department confirmed it was monitoring what it called highly "anomalous" Internet traffic.

"There is no credible intelligence to suggest an imminent threat to the homeland or our computing systems at this time," said a visibly shaken HSD representative at today’s news conference.

The motive for the attacks was unclear, said Duane Wessels, a researcher at the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis at the San Diego Supercomputing Center. "Maybe to show off or just be disruptive; it doesn't seem to be extortion or anything like that," Wessels added.

Experts said the hackers appeared to disguise their origin, but vast amounts of rogue data in the attacks were traced to South Korea, Iran, Ukraine, and other, unspecified, sources.

The attacks appeared to target Ultra DNS, the company that operates servers managing traffic for Web sites ending in the ORG and GOV suffixes, experts said. Officials with NeuStar Inc., which owns UltraDNS, confirmed only that it had observed an unusual increase in traffic.

Among the targeted "root" servers that manage global Internet traffic were ones operated by both the Defense Department and the Internet's primary public sector backbone.

"There was what appears to be some form of attack during the night hours here in California and into the morning," said Labia, chief technical officer for the Pluri Media Group. She said the attack was continuing and so was the hunt for the origin of the anomalies.

"I don't think anybody has the full picture," Labia said. "We're still analyzing the data."

Yesterday’ss attack was more serious than attacks against the same 13 root servers in October 2002 because black technology innovations in recent years have increasingly distributed their workloads to zombie computers located around the globe, making tracing efforts virtually impossible.

PMG Contributor: Xnick JesdXnun.

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