Cyber attacks on large online companies have been taking centre stage of late, with Spamhaus being the latest victim of such crimes. Spamhaus distributes a blacklist of spammers, so that email providers can take necessary precautions against their actions. However, a yet unknown group that was unhappy with Spamhaus and its doings, have initiated a deadly distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against the organization and have managed to slow the internet in many places as a result.
A botnet was used to carry out the attack, using remotely controlled computers to send excess traffic to Spamhaus’ network. This managed to take down the organization’s website and later even CloudFare was attacked when it was called in to re-route some of its traffic.
Botnets are computers that are taken over by a remote hacker, without the user ever knowing what was happening. These computers then send unwanted information to the target of the attack, thereby flooding them with information and causing them to go offline. Initially, the attack started off with 10 billion bits per second being sent by bots across the web. This number was increased to 300 billion bits per second, causing millions of people around the world problems online.
The problem lies with the fact that many companies do not follow the guidelines given in BCP 38, a document formulated as a guide to basic Internet engineering.