Internet Root Servers Attacked

Thursday, February 8, 2007

[starting on the night of Feb 6 and lasting 12 hours], Hackers mounted the most significant attack since 2002 on the computers that direct traffic on the internet…..The hackers, believed to be from Asia, bombarded the 13 computers, or root servers, that serve as the internet’s central address books.  But although the assault lasting several hours was the largest in the past five years, it had little effect on internet users.  “It was a significant and concerted attack, but the average internet user would have barely noticed,” said Paul Levins, the vice-president of corporate affairs at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), the body that oversees the running of the root servers and the net’s addressing system.  “Ironically, the system gets stronger and better because of the attacks as we’re constantly upgrading the technology,” Mr Levins said.  Hackers periodically try to overwhelm the root servers with requests and information, which can slow down the network response.  The servers are distributed throughout the world and, much like an electricity grid system, can redirect their efforts to where demand is highest.  Root servers manage the internet’s domain name system (DNS), used to translate web addresses such as guardian.co.uk into the numerical internet protocol (IP) addresses used by machines.  When a person types the name of a website into a web browser it looks up the location of that site by consulting a root server.  Two servers seemed to be the target of yesterday’s attack, one operated by the US defence department and the other by Icann…..

Reference : http://technology.guardian.co.uk/online/news/0,,2007758,00.html

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