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Spam Dispute Erupts into Cyberwar

An argument between a spam-fighting organization and a Dutch hosting firm erupted into a series of computer attacks The New York Times characterized as “one of the largest computer attacks on the Internet, causing widespread congestion and jamming crucial infrastructure around the world.” The fracas began after Spamhaus purportedly placed Cyberbunker, a web hosting firm, on its blacklist, which is used by e-mail providers to prevent spam. Spamhaus claims the attacks started 19 March, but claims it has not been deterred from distributing its blacklist. The distributed-denial-of-service botnet attacks against Spamhaus have reportedly caused routine Internet users to have delays when attempting to reach web sites or disruptions in streaming services such as Netflix. The attacks involve a data stream of as much as 300 billion bits per second. The attackers are using spoofed Domain Name System addresses purporting to be from Spamhaus in an attack known as DNS amplification to cripple Spamhaus’s computing infrastructure. Spamhaus has enlisted assistance from CloudFlare, a company that secures websites and helps lessen the effects of distributed denial-of-service attacks. (The New York Times)(Ars Technica)

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