A spotlight has been placed on the need for computer and Internet security after a large-scale cyberattack on an anti-spam group affected perhaps millions of Internet users throughout the world. The attack began in March 2013.
The cyberattack targeted Spamhaus, which is a volunteer organization that provides lists of spammers to email providers. These lists help the providers determine which email to mark as spam.
The cyberattack appeared to be an attempt to prevent Spamhaus from updating its lists. This could result in email customers receiving more spam than usual.
The attack came in the form of what is known as a distributed denial of service attack. The basic idea is the attacker floods the victim’s servers with vast amounts of data to prevent the victim from sending or receiving any information.
Spamhaus managed to deflect the attack by hiring CloudFlare to help take on much of the data. Spamhaus was slowed down but not completely shut down.
Spamhaus attack affected Internet security throughout the world
Once CloudFlare came on board, the attackers turned their attention to Internet exchanges in England, the Netherlands, China and Germany, which began to affect Internet users throughout the world. The attacks were periodic, so the effects weren’t felt consistently.
Businesses that rely on computer and Internet technology should be concerned that not only could they be affected, but that a similar attack could be done on them. Businesses should make Internet security a priority to protect themselves from just such an attack.
The frustrating part for those affected by the cyberattack is that it could have been prevented. The data packets that were sent to Spamhaus were sent by botnets. These can be stopped if major Internet companies choose to make sure outgoing data packets are sent by actual customers instead of these botnets.
If the attackers of Spamhaus do find a way to succeed and shut it down, this could lead email providers more susceptible to spammers. Most spam is just annoying, but spam also tends to be a common way for viruses, spyware and other malware to get loaded onto computers.
More spam means more opportunities for malware to get downloaded to a computer. Plus, it would seem likely that those that could perpetrate such an attack would also be able to create malware. The reason for the attack might even be so that they can send out malware.
Regardless of the situation, the best thing is to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, whatever that is. A good way to do this is to hire a computer tech support company that offers Internet security services.