Massive cyber attack 'almost broke the Internet'

Server cables are seen with a network in this file photo. (QMI Agency files)

Server cables are seen with a network in this file photo. (QMI Agency files)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:11 PM ET

Details emerged Wednesday about what's being called one of the biggest cyber attacks ever perpetrated after a non-profit spam-busting site was bombarded by data, knocking it offline and allowing the entire Internet to get clogged up and slowed down.

Spamhaus first reported the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks on March 19. The volunteer-run site based in Europe keeps lists of blocked websites that Internet providers and other large networks use to filter out spam.

As of Wednesday, Spamhaus said its lists are protecting more than 1.7 billion users' mailboxes.

But the attacks, which escalated over the past week, meant the Internet's very infrastructure was overwhelmed with data — reaching 300 billion bits per second — which "would have affected hundreds of millions of people even as they surfed sites unrelated to Spamhaus," website security company CloudFlare, hired to help Spamhaus, wrote in a blog post called "The DDoS That Almost Broke the Internet"

Many reports allege Dutch web-hosting company CyberBunker is behind the attacks, as retaliation for being put on a blocklist. No link has been proven, but CyberBunker says on its website it is in a "blackmail war" with Spamhaus, which considers it a "rogue" host to spam, phishing and malware.

 


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