Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are becoming increasingly more common and visible these days, as tactics of political protest, of businesses getting one over on each other and so on. The New York Times is reporting that a fight between two Dutch companies has created the single largest DDoS attack in the history of the internet.
The “internet fight” broke out between the two Dutch companies Spamhaus and Cyberbunker. The anti-spam group Spamhaus blacklisted Cyberbunker and consequently email providers begun to mark mail sent from Cyberbunker mail servers as spam. As you might expect Cyberbunker were not at all happy about this and responded by launching a DDoS attack on Spamhaus, this DDoS attack reached a huge 300Gbps in bandwidth.
The attack was configured by using vulnerable OpenDNS servers and unprotected routers to send spoofed lookup requests to Spamhaus DNS servers. The overall impact of the attack was a slowdown in the internet for everyone particularly those using high bandwidth streaming services like NetFlix, yet it could have been prevented if people and ISPs knew how to configure their routers properly to block unauthorised remote access and if OpenDNS servers opted for tighter security controls.
“Spamhaus has made plenty of enemies over the years. Spammers aren’t always the most lovable of individuals, and Spamhaus has been threatened, sued and [attacked] regularly,” noted Matthew Prince of Cloudflare, a hosting company that helped the London business survive the attack by diverting the traffic.
The attack was believed to have been arranged by Cyberbunker and a number of Eastern European gangs who enlisted hackers to create this large network of computers for the attack. Cyberbunker offers hosting for any content as long as it is not child pornography or linked to terrorism so as you can imagine a lot of the content they host is probably related to spam because this is not against their policies.