US Government Sites Hit With Online Attack

Recent reports have confirmed several US Governments web sites being attacked by a botnet.

An attack that started Saturday knocked the U.S. federal Trade Commission's web site offline and targeted other US Government sites such as the Department of Transportation and Department of the Treasury. Currently several of the U.S. Government organizations are working with their service providers to mitigate the impact from this attack.

Computer researchers have narrowed the attack sourced from a botnet which is compromised of over 50,000 infected systems which has already caused issues for businesses in South Korea and some other U.S. sites.

There have been other website targets from this botnet which include banking websites in Korea, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the White House, the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, the Washington Post and U.S. Bancorp.

How are these websites attacked?

This botnet attack is not very sophisticated but noted as being powerful enough to be a undesired nuisance and threat to the security to many of the affected sites and government agencies. This attack uses a plethora of known DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks. In such an attack, a website is bombarded by an overwhelming amount of worthless requests which makes them unavailable for an amount of time.

As a prime example of how a DDoS attack operates, on Saturday and Sunday during the start of these attacks, it was consuming about 20 to 40 gigabytes of bandwidth per second. This is one of the biggest rates of consumption security researchers have seen. This could be evident that this attack is far more advanced than previously thought and could turn into a bigger issue. Just like the previous Conficker worm, hackers have gained control over several infected systems and could use them to carry out other malicious actions over the internet.

Could it be possible that these attacks are actions to lash out-against the FTC because of the recent actions of them shutting down Pricewert which harbored many spammers and internet crooks? Just when the new U.S. Presidential staff is gearing up to strengthen the contries cyber-security defenses, an attack of this magnitude happens.

Do you think we will see more attacks like this in the near future or will the U.S. Government ramp up their defenses ahead of the cyber criminals?

  • Paul Dixon

    Thanks for the info on the recent hacks. I wonder if China may be behind some of these attacks??