The Internet Comes Under Serious Attack

The most serious attack since 2002, lasting up to 12 hours, was made against key internet root servers on Tuesday February 6. The news was reported by the Associated Press.

Experts said the unusually powerful attacks lasted as long as 12 hours but passed largely unnoticed by most computer users — a testament to the resiliency of the Internet. Behind the scenes, computer scientists worldwide raced to cope with enormous volumes of data that threatened to saturate some of the Internet’s most vital pipelines.

The attacks appeared to target UltraDNS, the company that operates servers managing traffic for Web sites ending in “org” and some other suffixes, experts said. Among the targeted “root” servers that manage global Internet traffic were ones operated by the Defense Department and the Internet’s primary oversight body.

John Crain, chief technical officer for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said Tuesday’s attack was less serious than attacks against the same 13 “root” servers in October 2002 because technology innovations in recent years have increasingly distributed their workloads to other computers around the globe.

The motive for the attacks is unclear. The hackers appeared to disguise their origin, but vast amounts of rogue data in the attacks were traced to South Korea. My theory? Terrorism, plain and simple. The impact of a wide-spread internet outage on our economy would be severe. So much so, that protecting the internet is a reasonably high priority for Homeland Security.

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