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Internet 'bystanders' affected as massive cyberattack hits Spamhaus
LONDON The Internet is under the worst cyberattack ever.
Spam-fighting organization Spamhaus is being targeted with massive cyberattack that experts say may be the biggest in the history of the web. The so-called distributed denial of service attack, or DDoS, uses networks of computers to point huge volumes of web traffic at a computer server, a technique that invariably knocks the site offline, regardless of its size.
Picture the effect of trying to sip from Niagra Falls and you'll get the idea.
'If the Internet felt a bit more sluggish for you over the last few days in Europe, this may be part of the reason why.'
- Matthew Prince, CEO of net security firm CloudFlare
The DDoS attack being waged against Spamhaus has reached a previously unheard of magnitude, according to Patrick Gilmore, chief architect at digital content provider Akamai -- a data stream of 300 billion bits per second.
It's the largest publicly announced DDoS attack in the history of the Internet, Gilmore to the New York Times.
The massive cyberattack is apparently from groups angry at being blacklisted by the Geneva-based Spamhaus -- and the digital assault is so great that Gilmore said the electronic onslaught was affecting others across the Internet.
CloudFlare, an Internet security firm, also reported that the attack was massive, possibly the biggest ever.
"We have been told by one major Tier 1 provider that they saw more than 300Gbps of attack traffic related to this attack," wrote Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare, on a company blog detailing the attack. "That would make this attack one of the largest ever reported."
Users could experience slower Internet or be subjected to unwanted emails, he said.
"If the Internet felt a bit more sluggish for you over the last few days in Europe, this may be part of the reason why," Prince wrote.
Spamhaus carries a constantly-updated blacklist of service providers suspected of offering refuge for spammers.
In an interview, Spamhaus' Vincent Hanna said his site had been hit by such a crushing wave of denial-of-service attacks and that it was "a small miracle that we're still online."
Hanna said his group had been weathering such attacks since mid-March. The attacks work by flooding target servers with traffic.
Gilmore said the attack was so large that online bystanders had been hit as well.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.