Infosec journalist Brian Krebs silenced by world’s biggest DDoS attack

23 Sep 2016

DDoS attack on Brian Krebs is the largest of its kind by packet volume. Image: Profit_Image/Shutterstock

In a severe case of hackers’ revenge, the site of acclaimed infosec journalist Brian Krebs has been taken down by what is believed to be the biggest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack of its kind.

In this day and age, you are almost nobody if you haven’t succumbed to a DDoS attack of some kind, but the level of attack on Krebs On Security may be the highest packet flood on the internet ever recorded.

A DDoS attack is an attempt to make a network resource unavailable to the internet by flooding it with traffic. A number (often thousands) of unique IP addresses effectively crowd the entrance to an online store or business.

Shut the door! Is Krebs a victim of hacker revenge?

According to content delivery provider Akamai, the site was hit by a data flood at 620 gigabits per second (Gbps). Akamai previously hosted Krebs On Security, but it has temporarily dropped the site as a result of the massive hack.

Until this occurrence, large attacks were usually in the range of between 400 and 500Gbps.

To orchestrate this level of attack on Krebs’ site would require significant skill and the harnessing of a large number of computing devices unbeknownst to their users.

It is believed to have emanated from a large botnet using thousands of hacked systems. Text found in the data packets suggest that it mounted to protest against Krebs’ work to uncover who was behind a prolific DDoS attack.

Brian Krebs is an American journalist and investigative reporter best known for his coverage of profit-seeking cyber-criminals.

A long-time reporter with The Washington Post, Krebs became one of the first journalists to publish a story in 2013 that Target Corporation had been breached, with 40m credit card details stolen.

He is the author of the 2014 book Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime – from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door.

Ironically, Krebs was first switched on to data security when a computer worm locked him out of his own computer in 2001. Now, the biggest recorded DDoS attack so far in computer history is locking him out of his own website.

DDoS. Image: Profit_Image/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years