Attacks Used the Internet Against Itself to Clog Traffic

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Attacks Used the Internet Against Itself to Clog Traffic
Article info: John Markoff, Nicole Perlroth: Attacks Used Internet Against
Itself to Clog Traffic, The New York Times, 2013.
In their article, Attacks Used Internet Against Itself to Clog Traffic, Markoff and
Perlroth,(2013) state that there has been an increase of cyber attacks in recent
times. This costs the victims millions of dollars, as it could shut down an entire
business. The article states how black hat activity occurs and how to stop them.
How the Attacks Occurred
Cyber assaults are distasteful actions to change, interrupt, mislead, humiliate,
or destroy computer systems. The main aim is to hinder or construe a significant
activity that depends on the Internet (Schiller, 2010). The author says that
stopping the attacks is not an easy task. The recent fronts succeeded due to both
the worst and best aspects of the extensive global Internet network (Markoff &
Perlroth, 2013).The Internet is open to manipulation being that it is not a closely
regulated platform for communication. The way communication servers are
configured makes them vulnerable to assaults. The most recent attacks showed
how huge the problem has become. On Tuesday, February 21st of this year, a
group discontented Spamhaus; this is an association, which distributes names of
spammers to providers of e-mails (Markoff & Perlroth, 2013).
To infiltrate, the assailants used botnet-infected computers controlled by a
remote to attack the primary website of Spamhaus. Afterwards, the Internet
servers used by CloudFlare, Silicon Company were hired by Spamhaus to redirect
its front. The author states that the attacks are successful due to the infected 
computers exploiting Internet routing software so that Internet servers return the
answers of the requests made for a data sent concurrently by a hefty set of
Spamhaus and Cloudflare’s servers answered the requests and were fooled into
distributing data to the attackers. As the servers responded by sending quite a
large block of information, they accelerated the attack. Data flow grew from ten
billion bits the first week to three hundred billion bits for every second the
following week, causing message errors and delays among millions of people
across the Internet community (Markoff & Perlroth, 2013). After nine days, the
black hats changed their tactics. They realized they would not be able to disable
CloudFlare any longer. They aimed at the networks connected to CloudFlare and
penetrated computer servers, which provide the network’s establishment. They
also attacked organizations within Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, and Hong
Kong that dealt with Internet exchanges. They did not cut out the Internet, except
they made it slow down.
The attackers continued changing targets, stopping and starting the fronts over
nine days. The black hat activities succeeded due to the blend of loopholes,
complex, and poor configurations of Internet routing equipments. The attack
could not have succeeded if all the organizations affected would have checked
whether the outgoing information packets were being sent by the company or to
the organization by customers (Markoff & Perlroth, 2013). Few companies
counter-check outgoing information to determine whether or not their customers
sent it.
How to Dissuade the Attacks 
The authors state that, since the year 2000, the fundamental principles of
shielding ourselves from cyber attacks has been extensively documented. In the
same year, a voluntary group of Internet and communication engineers laid down
the rules of the best practices to encourage Internet organizations and companies
to get used to overcoming a hazard identified as “IP Address Spoofing”, where
the attacker can conceal a fake address at the back which is critical for the success
of DDoS(denial-of-service) attacks (Markoff & Perlroth, 2013). The rules were
put in a document called BCP 38, and are followed by a limited number of small
companies. The Internet security of late did name and ashame operators of open,
misconfigured servers to try to shut them down (Markoff & Perlroth, 2013). This
did pay off, as some companies dropped off the list in the last five months.
The weakness of the Internet is that it is made of many of autonomous
computers, making it susceptible to enduring threats. The authors state that, if
black hats had started the assault from one computer, it might have been subdued.
When the source of the attack is from one source, it is easier to counter than when
it is from many sources (Markoff & Perlroth, 2013). They also say that it is
prudent to teach system operators to configure their networks.
Other Sources
Security concerns of the Internet have been expressed by security engineers to
encourage companies, organizations, and individuals with Internet connections to
take a number of essential and potentially pricey changes to their operations like
implementing new protocols in network equipment to enhance security for
Internet communications (Stiennon, 2010). Patching vulnerabilities in UNIX
systems, frequently updating antivirus software, and intrusion detection software,
all help (Garber, 2000). In the year 2010, the department of energy of the U.S. 
funded Siemens Corporate Technology’s research team to bring split regional
systems under a universal security framework that could be adapted to the needs
of any automation on the power grid system, thus creating protection against
intruders. Another way of stopping the assaults is the use of the principle of
separation that entails enforcement of entrance policy limitations on the users and
resources in a computing environment (Amoroso & Amoroso, 2012).
Cyber attacks are still the main threat facing a computing atmosphere (Schiller
& Phd, 2010). Network operators need to be educated on how to configure their
servers to prevent attacks (Markoff & Perlroth, 2013). Organizations should make
it a norm of checking whether outgoing data comes from the customers to reduce
assaults (Schiller & Phd, 2010). Companies and organizations should avoid using
unconfigured servers. Individuals and companies should be ready to make
expensive choices in strengthening their security systems to counter these black
hat attacks (Markoff & Perlroth, 2013).
Amoroso, E. G., & Amoroso, E. (2012). Cyber Attacks. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Garber, L. (2000, April 7th). New York Times. Retrieved April 1st, 2013,
from Denial-of-Service Attacks Rip the Internet:
Markoff, J., & Perlroth, N. (2013, March 27th). Attacks Used the Internet
Against Itself to Clog Traffic. Retrieved March 01/04/2013, 2013, from New
York Times :
Schiller (2010). Cyber Attacks and Protection. New York : CreateSpace.
Stiennon, R. (2010). Surviving Cyber War. Lanham: Government Institutes.
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