Irish internet users saw little impact of major cyberattack – INEX

2 Apr 2013

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The exchange that handles 95pc of data traffic from Irish people using the internet has said it was unaffected while a major cyberattack was in progress last week, as a backlash has emerged over the collateral damage it reportedly caused.

The attack was originally sparked by a dispute between The Spamhaus Project, the non-profit spam-filtering organisation, and the Dutch hosting provider Cyberbunker. When Spamhaus added servers maintained by Cyberbunker to its blocked list, it then suffered a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks which escalated up to 300Gbps.

Experts said this was the largest reported cyberattack of its kind, and the incident was widely reported by Siliconrepublic.com, the BBC, the New York Times, and the Financial Times.

Claims that the DDoS slowed down internet traffic for many users appear to have been wide off the mark, however, after early reports suggested that services like Netflix had been affected and services like online banking and email were said to be at risk.

Nick Hilliard, chief technology officer with INEX, Ireland’s Internet Peering Point, said Irish users saw little impact while the attack was taking place.

What is INEX?

INEX is the point at which the majority of Irish internet traffic passes from one network to another. More than 95pc of Irish people using the internet are connected to INEX via their ISPs.

In a statement to Siliconrepublic.com, Hilliard said: “We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary at INEX while this attack was in progress, but we didn’t really expect to, either. The internet is pretty resilient to this sort of thing and if an attack affects infrastructure in one location, traffic will be re-routed via another.”

Hilliard added that INEX works closely with the service provider community in Ireland. “They’re a responsible and responsive bunch. Most of them already have good protection mechanisms in place to ensure that their networks can’t be used to launch this sort of attack and there were no reports of customer service being impacted at any stage,” he said. 

Since news of the attack first emerged, an online backlash has cast doubt on the extent of its impact. Much of the negative comment focused on how evidence about the extent of the attack originated from Spamhaus and CloudFlare, the firm engaged by Spamhaus to mitigate the attacks. Sceptics pointed out the latter’s financial stake in proving the effectiveness of its Anti-DDoS services.

Cyberattack image via Shutterstock

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