OT?: New Zealand Internet site claims hit by hackers

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Ihug hit by hackers

15.02.2000 - By ADAM GIFFORD

Internet hackers have tried to shut down one of New Zealand's most popular Internet companies, Ihug. The "denial of service" attack came in the same week that hackers shut down some of the world's most popular Websites, including Yahoo, CNN and Amazon.com.

FBI agents are hunting the cyber-hackers who shut down the big American Websites. Their technique was to fool computers into sending millions of electronic messages to the target sites.

One of the host computers used to attack Ihug appeared to have been in Timaru. They are known as "zombies," as the owners do not know what their system is being used for. An independent computer security expert believes that the Ihug attack originated in this country.

Such a hack floods a Website with so many requests it cannot cope with the demand. The Yahoo site was reportedly hit with the equivalent of 104 million people dialling one company's phone lines at once. Ihug customers reported that international Internet access was non-existent last Thursday night and traffic capacity dropped to 10 per cent of normal.

Arjon de Landgraaf, of the Auckland e-business and Internet security company Co-Logic, said attacks raised the possibility of electronic blackmail, with hackers having the capability to shut a company's business.

Ihug director Tim Wood said such attacks had "a sporadic effect, not a major one," on the company. The scale of last week's attack was tiny compared with that on Yahoo and CNN.



-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), February 14, 2000

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