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Experts Caution Net Attacks
[March 17, 2006]

Experts Caution Net Attacks


TMCnet Contributing Editor
 
Security researchers warn that a new variety of powerful Internet attacks can overpower Web sites and disturb e-mails by exploiting the computers that help manage global Internet traffic. The attacks were identified for the first time late last year.


 
According to The Associated Press report, the new attacks direct such huge amounts of fake data against victim computers that even flagship technology companies could find it extremely difficult to handle. In one of the cases, the unknown assailant actually snatched control of an Internet name server in South Africa and purposely corrupted its contents.

 
Experts have found out that at least 1,500 attacks have temporarily shut down commercial Web sites, large Internet providers and leading Internet infrastructure companies for a period of weeks. The attacks were so perfect that the majority of Internet users did not detect the widespread effects.
 
Ken Silva, the chief security officer for VeriSign (News - Alert) Inc., compares the extent of attacks to the damage caused in October 2002 when nine of the 13-computer "root" servers that manage global Internet traffic were destroyed. VeriSign operates two of the 13 root server computers, however its machines were unaffected.
 
The attacks earlier this year used only about 6 percent of the over 1 million name servers across the Internet to inundate victim networks. The attacks in some cases have surpassed 8 gigabits per second, reports The Associated Press.
 
The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a joint venture with the Homeland Security Department, has already warned network engineers in December to configure their name servers to stop hackers from using them in attacks.
 
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Niladri Sekhar Nath is a contributing writer for TMCnet covering telecommunications, service providers and networking.

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