Saturday, July 10, 2010

The DDoS Attacks: Lightning Strikes Twice

Last year on the 7th of July, South Korea and the United States both fell victim to a massive, widespread cyber-attack. While the U.S. has still reached no definite conclusions, South Korea's intelligence chief claims the attack was launched by the North Korean ministry of telecommunications.

On July 7th this year, the distributed denial-of-service attacks, also known as the DDoS attacks, repeated themselves. However this time, the attacks took place on a far more limited scale. While last years attacks seized control of and mobilized some 270,000 computers, this years attack only affected 462 computers.

It seems several of the computers that were involved in last years' attacks were still infected with the virus and this had lead to an outbreak, although albeit a much more limited one. Apparently the germs of a computer virus can linger, just as the germs from a human infection can.

Thankfully this year's outbreak did little actual damage even though some of the websites that were effected included South Korea's presidential Blue House and foreign ministry. Last year's attacks shut down 25 websites for 11 hours. Only 11 of those sites were in South Korea the other 14 were in the U.S. Some of the websites affected in that attack belonged to agencies of the U.S. government. This years outbreak of the attack was confined to South Korea.

Authorities there are instructing Internet service providers to encourage customers using infected computers to to erase the virus. Just like a human contagion, viruses of this nature must be contained in order to be eradicated.

Whether or not the North Koreans are behind it or not is a matter of debate. The most recent reports indicate that the DDoS attacks can be traced back to hackers in China.

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