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Hackers attack heart of the net February 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet Safety.
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Icann was one of the organisations targeted in the attack

Hackers have attempted to topple key parts of the internet’s backbone, in one of the most significant attacks of recent years. The target was servers that help to direct global internet traffic.

In the early hours of Tuesday three key servers were hit by a barrage of data in what is known as a distributed denial-of-service attack. There is no evidence so far of damage, which experts are saying is testament to the robust nature of the internet.

The so-called root servers involved in the attack act as a kind of global address book for the internet by translating website name information into IP addresses to enable computers to visit particular sites.

The servers involved were each operated by a separate body, the US Defense Department, the net’s oversight body ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and UltraDNS, which manages traffic for websites ending in “org” and some other suffixes.

The fact that the attack remained invisible to users is being hailed as a success. The type of attack favoured in this case involves floods of data being sent to a machine in an effort to knock it over. If a part of the DNS system went down it would mean websites could be unreachable and e-mail undeliverable.

Research last year suggested that holes in the net’s addressing system could leave 85% of the net vulnerable to take over if hackers combined simple attacks with denial-of-service attacks. The fact that the attack remained invisible to users will be seen as evidence that the heart of the net can be kept healthy.

Related Links >

http://www.icann.org

http://www.defenselink.mil

http://www.sophos.com

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