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Cyber feuds slow down the web
March 29, 2013 - Art Smith
Two companies feuding with one another proved earlier this week just how fragile the Internet can be.
Cyberbunker is a website hosting company based in an old NATO bunker in the Netherlands. It hosts websites by providing space on its servers for companies around the world. It is not very picky about who it host and will reportedly do business with anyone except child pornographers and terrorist. A number of companies that spread malware and viruses are apparently part of its client list.
A company called Spamhaus identified Cyberbunker as a host of spam sites. Spamhaus works to block companies like Cyberbunker from spreading bad things across the Internet.
Cyberbunker put in place what is called a denial of service attack against Spamhaus.
Websites are set up to handle hundreds, even thousands of requests at the same time. A denial of service attack, or DDoS, sends million. The result is a massive traffic jam, backing up traffic not only to the site being attacked but also sites that might just be caught in the gridlock.
Like the roads leading to a massive rock concert, traffic can clog “roads” for miles. In the case of the web it can cause traffic to slow to sites that have no connection with either the attacker or the victim.
That is what happened this week, when many people reported traffic to be slow on the web in general.
As the Internet has grown and gotten more intertwined with our lives, it has become a bigger issue when it fails to work correctly and a bigger target for those whose goal is to disrupt things.
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