As I write this it is being reported worldwide that the internet around the world has been slowed down in what is being described as the biggest cyber-attack of its kind in history.
If I am being honest I am not exactly sure what slowed down equates to? Is my slow connection speed due to the hotel WIFI I am currently utilising or as a result of this cyber attack? Or is slowed down no more than a slight annoyance to most? Well it is definitely the latter if you are currently streaming movies through Netflix, who are allegedly experiencing problems as a result. Perhaps, as experts believe, this is only ‘the tip of the iceberg’ as the concern is that the attacks may escalate to levels that affect banking and e-mails services.
So how has this happened?
It is reported that the cyber attacks are as a result of a disagreement between Spamhaus and Cyberbunker. With Spamhaus alleging that Cyberbunker, in cooperation with criminal gangs from Eastern Europe and Russia, are behind these Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which are being aimed at Spamhaus’s Domain Name Servers.Spamhaus an organisation based in London and Geneva which aims to help email providers filter out spam and other unwanted content and Cyberbunker a Dutch web hosting firm which has stated that it will host anything with the exception of child pornography or terrorism-related material. In order to filter out the spam and other unwanted content Spamhaus maintains a database of servers known to be used for malicious purposes and has recently added servers operated by Cyberbunker to this database. This action has angered Cyberbunker who claim that Spamhaus is abusing its position by deciding what is and is not shown on the internet.
Will the Internet remain up?
Steve Linford, chief executive for Spamhaus, told the BBC the scale of the attack was unprecedented "We've been under this cyber-attack for well over a week. But we're up - they haven't been able to knock us down. Our engineers are doing an immense job in keeping it up - the attack's power would be strong enough to take down government internet infrastructure”. "These attacks are peaking at 300 gb/s (gigabits per second). Normally when there are attacks against major banks, we're talking about 50 gb/s. They are targeting every part of the internet infrastructure that they feel can be brought down"
He added: "Spamhaus has more than 80 servers around the world. We've built the biggest DNS server around. We can't be brought down”. At the current levels the attacks are being defended albeit resulting in a slower service, however it remains to be seen the impact of any significant increase in the level, frequency or complexity of the attacks. Despite the optimism it is not inconceivable that the internet could go down or be taken offline to protect the national infrastructure of individual countries.
How might this affect your organisation?
That really will depend on the importance of the internet to your organisation. But if you are one of the organisations that has adopted cloud based computing then the consequences of no internet or a significant drop in the performance of the internet could range from inconvenience to catastrophic. The popularity of cloud based computing is increasing fast, with organisations not only storing data in the cloud but in some instances running their entire operations on cloud based technology. If you fall into this category the affects may be catastrophic as you could suddenly find that you have no or little access to your Customer and Prospect Data, CRM, Accounts, or phone systems (VOIP).
So what should you do?
The good news is; if you have got this far then the internet is still operational and you have time to face the fact that it is unlikely that you can do anything directly to influence the stability of the internet. There are however two actions you CAN do to ensure that you have some resilience to such attacks in the future:
Keeping on top of these simple management controls can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your organisation as resilient from external factors, such as this attack, both now and in the future.