Using The Internet To Destroy The Internet
March 29, 2013

Using The Internet To Destroy The Internet

It’s probably contractually stated somewhere that every Michael Bay directed version of “Transformers” must contain no less than four fight scenes between those enormous robots. Towering above their human allies and their modes of transport, these alien-yet-humanoid robots exchange blows and fire unlimited missiles and rockets at one another on the ground. Sometimes they’ll even take their battle to the sky, colliding into buildings and causing general mayhem.

All the while puny human lookers-on have their cars destroyed by rogue ammunition, office spaces obliterated by a falling robot, or a critical piece of roadway razed to rubble.

Put simply, when Transformers fight, we all lose…which is why we need to all sign a petition to stop Michael Bay from ever making another film and encouraging this type of behavior.

It’s the size of the robots that causes so much damage. They may not realize it, but their little squabbles affect the rest of us more than it affects them.

(I’m still assuming these things are real, by the way.)

So, when two web giants start fighting, they begin to hog up all the bandwidth and make things a mess for the rest of us who aren’t as involved in the battle as they are.

Here’s the story:

A Dutch based web hosting firm called “Cyberbunker” has a very liberal policy on what they allow on their sites.

To paraphrase: “It’s all good.”

Every person has their moral limits, so child pornography and terrorist activity are the only two items up with which Cyberbunker will not put. This leaves an obvious opening for spammers, of course.

This did not go unnoticed by UK-based spam filtering group Spamhaus, and the company placed Cyberbunker on their distributed blacklist of known spam-friendly hosting sites.

Cyberbunker got upset by this and began questioning why Spamhaus thought they had the right to decide “what goes and does not go on the Internet.”

Shortly after Spamhaus placed the hosting service on a blacklist, they came under some pretty heavy attacks.

Five different Internet police groups are currently investigating these attacks, but Spamhaus believes Cyberbunker (with the help of some “criminal gangs”) are behind the digital onslaught.

Here’s the thing; this isn’t your run of the mill attack. Cyberbunker and their allies have been able to launch what’s being called “The Largest Internet Attack In History” against Spamhaus.

For some perspective, Steve Linford, chief executive for Spamhaus, told the BBC that a normal DDoS attack such as the one being launched against them peaks around 50 gigabits per second worth of data. A storm of this size is usually enough to bring down major banks and some governmental agencies.

Spamhaus faced attacks that peaked at 300 gigabits per second, and somehow they remained up and operational. The attackers then changed their strategy and began striking a company called CloudFare, whom Spamhaus recruited to help them withstand the siege. Unable to bring both networks down, the attackers then tried bringing down Internet exchanges all over the world, such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and, finally, London.

The London exchange showed the greatest sign of weakness, and though the attackers were unable to bring the whole of the Internet down, which is seemingly what they aim to do, they were able to slow its roll.

Some Internet old-timers are saying the infrastructure underneath the web is particularly vulnerable to these kinds of attacks and few companies check their traffic for malicious behavior.

The size and ferocity of these attacks has been enough to affect the Internet for the rest of us, all because one company (allegedly) thinks serving up spam is “all good.”

Maybe the Transformers metaphor isn’t the best one to use here.

Perhaps I should compare Cyberbunker (allegedly) to an enormous and temperamental pre-teen who doesn’t get its way.

It then takes the attitude of “Well, if I can’t have it, no one else can!”

Yeah, that sounds better; Cyberbunker is an enormous and temperamental prepubescent child. Allegedly.

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