Unprecedented attack demonstrates the dangers that lie ahead
Around the world, ‘net users are experiencing slowed connections as a result of what may be the largest cyber battle to date. Spam fighting group Spamhaus has been facing an extended and incredibly powerful DDoS attack from Cyberbunker, a Dutch web host recently blacklisted for hosting a large number of users with malicious intentions, that far exceeds any attacks seen before.
The BBC’s Dave Lee interviewed Spamhaus CEO Steve Linford, who explained more about the situation:
The attackers have used a tactic known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), which floods the intended target with large amounts of traffic in an attempt to render it unreachable.
In this case, Spamhaus’s Domain Name System (DNS) servers were targeted – the infrastructure that joins domain names, such as bbc.co.uk, the website’s numerical internet protocol address.
Mr Linford said the attack’s power would be strong enough to take down government internet infrastructure.
“If you aimed this at Downing Street they would be down instantly,” he said. “They would be completely off the internet.”
He added: “These attacks are peaking at 300 Gbps (gigabits per second).
“Normally when there are attacks against major banks, we’re talking about 50 Gbps”
Put simply, this attack has enough force behind it to instantly knock just about any organization offline for as long as the attackers wished to sustain it. The only way Spamhaus is staying online is through its own incredibly thorough preparation and the support of several major players, including Google, sharing resources to help bear the brunt of the attacks. If you’re trying to convince a reluctant CEO that it’s time to beef up your web security, well, this should do the trick.
The new wave of crisis management is here, and it’s all about cyber threats. Not only must you plan and prepare for those directed against your own organization, but any that target organizations up and down the supply chain, as well as the web in general.
If this leap in power is any indication, future cyber battles could result in so much disruption that the entire internet is slowed to a crawl, a devastating situation considering just how much we reply on connectivity to keep things running.
The cyber threat is real, people, and the time to prepare is now. Get on it, or risk becoming another casualty on the battlefield.
For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
[Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]