Massive cyber attack kills internet speeds across the globe

Broadband speed

An ongoing dispute between a web hosting firm and an anti-spam group has reportedly resulted in the world's largest cyber attack and caused internet speeds across the globe to drop.

Web users across the globe have experienced a slowdown in internet speeds as a result of a sustained Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against anti-spam group Spamhaus, according to reports.

It is thought to be the largest attack of its kind to have blighted the internet, and is currently being investigated by five international police forces.

We are aware that this is one of the largest DDoS attacks the world has publicly seen.

Spamhaus, which is based in London and Geneva, prides itself on tracking the source of spam emails and preventing them from infiltrating internet networks.

It does this by maintaining a number of real-time spam-blocking databases, which are used by email service providers, for example, to prevent their customers from being plagued by spam.

Spamhaus recently blocked servers belonging to web hosting firm CyberBunker, and since then has been forced to defend itself against an ongoing DDoS attack.

The company published a blog post last week, confirming that it was in the midst of a sustained cyber attack.

In a report on the BBC News website earlier today, Steve Linford, chief executive for Spamhaus, shed some light on how the attack was progressing.

"We've been under this cyber attack for well over a week," he told the BBC.

"But we're up they haven't been able to knock us down [and] our engineers are doing an immense job in keeping it up this sort of attack would take down pretty much anything else."

The organisation claims CyberBunker has enlisted the help of "criminal gangs" from Eastern Europe and Russia to carry out the attack.

At the time of writing, CyberBunker had neither confirmed nor denied its involvement, although a report on the Sydney Morning Herald website quotes one Sven Olaf Kamphuis, who claims to be leading the attack.

In an online message, he is reported to have written: "We are aware that this is one of the largest DDoS attacks the world has publicly seen.

"Nobody ever deputised Spamhaus to determine what goes and does not on the internet. They worked themselves into that position by pretending to fight spam," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.