Internet hacking isn’t exactly a new thing. What we typically don’t see, however, is a website getting hacked to such a degree that the infrastructure of the Internet itself is so affected and other websites experience problems. But Last Tuesday, that’s exactly what happened.
A European online group known as SpamHaus was practically e-bulldozed by a huge DDoS attack last week. The spam-blocking nonprofit group dedicates itself to solving the Internet’s spam problem, and was apparently taken out by a coalition of websites believing SpamHaus to be a threat to free speech and net neutrality.
SpamHaus Versus CyberBunker: Round One, FIGHT!
As it’s gone about trying valiantly to scrub the Internet of any and all traces of needless pestering, the somewhat confusingly-named SpamHaus has picked up more than just a few enemies.
Understandably so, when considering the assessment of Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare, one of the largest online security firms:
“…spammers aren’t always the most lovable of individuals.”
Of course, that could very well just be Matthew Prince’s opinion, but the man didn’t get to be the CEO of such an important online security firm by accident. SpamHaus has made its own name for itself too, and currently blocks close to an estimated 80% of all the Internet spam that actually winds up getting blocked.
CyberBunker isn’t such a huge fan, though. The online storage site will allow users to use its hosting servers for anything, so long as it doesn’t involve terrorism or child pornography, according to the site itself.
SpamHaus alleges that CyberBunker is used regularly by spammers as what amounts to a launch pad from which they can pepper the Internet with unnecessary spam. CyberBunker insists that SpamHaus is a blight on both freedom of speech and the neutrality of the Internet. The argument rages back and forth.
SpamHaus insists that it’s been protecting email accounts and inboxes for over a decade, but SpamHaus and a group of websites that call themselves StopHaus see SpamHaus as something else entirely.
“What we see right here is the Internet puking out a cancer,” says CyberBunker founder Sven Olaf Kamphuis. A colorful choice of words, indeed.
Anatomy of a DDoS Attack
Apparently, the attack launched against SpamHaus last Tuesday used some of the most sophisticated techniques that experts have ever seen. The attack was so massive, in fact, that it actually started messing up other sites on the Internet. This is pretty serious stuff, especially when you understand exactly how a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack works.
Someone carrying out this type of cyber attack actually overwhelms the target’s servers by sending far too much traffic to the site in the form of various requests. This crazy influx of information causes the target site’s servers to get gummed up and eventually just stop working.
It’s essentially a large-scale (and intentional) version of the lag time that you might experience if you try to watch a highly-anticipated YouTube video in the moments right after it gets uploaded. For that matter, it’s basically the same thing you experience if you try to drive on the freeway in a crowded city: there’s simply too much traffic.
For this reason, though, the DDoS attack is relatively tame when it comes to hacking. Other types of cyber attacks, of course, can result in the theft of personal information, which can cause some serious trouble for a whole lot of individuals. An attack like this is definitely an important shot fired in the battle for a safe, clean Internet…but at least nobody’s personal information got stolen.
Whenever a serious security breach does happen, we’ll make sure we let you know.
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