Is the Internet O.K.? An Attack on a Spam Tracking Company and Cut Internet Cord Slows Down Speeds


Wosotowsky explained that other services that share similar services to Spamhaus can also be impacted by an attack of this size.

However, the slowdowns were not as widespread or as severe as many thought, says Doug Madory of Renesys, a New Hampshire firm that keeps track of global Internet stability. "As far as the global Internet, this was a fairly localized event. It wasn't a catastrophic event across the global Internet," Madory said.

Undersea Cord Cutting
Madory didn't minimize the repurcussions of the Cyberbunker-Spamhaus spat, but he did say that another event this week could have had even bigger or more widespread implications.

"One of the biggest cables that connects Europe to the biggest cables was cut, that's a way to create a widespread impact," Madory said. According to the BBC, three scuba divers were caught trying to cut an undersea Internet cable off Egypt. The damaged cable caused service disruptions in Egypt, Africa and other parts of the Middle East. The motive of the men is unknown. Problems in Internet service in Egypt is not new: Two years ago, during the Arab Spring uprising, Internet access in Egypt was cut off.

Other outages in the region were thought to be attributed to additional underseas cable disruption, likely caused by a boat or an anchor. Madory and Wosotowsky both said that there are other cable links to provide connectivity to the countries, but that it can have a significant effect on speeds and stability of the service.

"It's one thing with a DDoS attack, we are able to push that away with code, but when you cut a wire you have to get out there and splice that thing back together and get it up and running," Wosotowsky said. "Hardware attacks are much more expensive and take a lot more time to recover from."

The Digital Mafia
The two attacks, while not related, do demonstrate that it's not just the individuals on the Internet, but the Internet itself, which stands in harm's way with the rise of cyberattacks.

"Bad guys are always going to be on the look for the weakness in the chain, that's why these things take place. It will either be a DDoS or cables being cut," Galvin said. "It's the same way 50 or 40 years ago we made an effort to crackdown on the Mafia. We need to have the same focus on the criminals on the Internet today."

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