Global Internet Slows after ‘Biggest cyber attack in history’

If you noticed your internet running a little slower than normal yesterday, it was all down to a cyber attack.

A row between a spam fighting group and a hosting firm sparked retaliation attacks which affected the wider internet.

Spamhaus, a group based in London and Geneva is an organisation that helps email providers filter out spam and other unwanted content.

Recently Spamhaus blocked servers maintained by Cyberbunker, a Dutch web host that states it will host almost anything with the exception of child pornography and terrorism-related material.

Sven Olaf Kamphuis, who claims to be a spokesman for Cyberbunker, has said Spamhaus is abusing its position and should not be allowed to decide ‘what goes and does not go on the internet’.

Spamhaus alleges that Cyberbunker is behind the attack, along with ‘criminal gangs’ from Eastern Europe and Russia.

The attackers have used a tactic known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), which floods the internet with large amounts of traffic rendering it unreachable.

In this case, Spamhaus’s Domain Name System (DNS) servers were targeted.

Mr Steve Linford, chief executive for Spamhaus, said the scale of the attack was unprecedented: “We’ve been under this cyber attack for well over a week.But we’re up – they haven’t been able to knock us down. Our engineers are doing an immense job in keeping it up – this sort of attack would take down pretty much anything else.”

Mr Linford said the attack’s power would be strong enough to take down government internet infrastructure: “If you aimed this at Downing Street they would be down instantly, they would be completely off the internet.”

He added: “These attacks are peaking at 300 Gbps (gigabits per second). Normally when there are attacks against major banks, we’re talking about 50 Gbps”.

The knock on effect of the cyber-attack is affecting internet service globally. Companies like Netflix who rely on fast internet streaming have seen a slower service – and experts are worrying that it could affect banks and email systems.

Professor Alan Woodward, a cyber-security expert at the University of Surrey said: “If you imagine it as a motorway, attacks try and put enough traffic on there to clog up the on and off ramps, with this attack, there’s so much traffic it’s clogging up the motorway itself.”

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