Whats different about the Attack Monday on the DNS system was in was the first reported time all DNS servers were attacked simultaneously. Such distributed Denial of Service attacks are nothing new, but in this case, new in the method and target of the attack. The attack on Monday started around 1 pm PDT.|
The Internets Domain Name System acts like a Phone Book for the internet translating names like amo.net to numbers like 184.108.40.206. Each domain name has 4 sets of numbers ranging from 0-255 in a A.B.C.D order. In the best scenario, the internet user checks their service providers DNS systems for each web site they are visiting, and, if these servers fail to provide the number, the user is bounced via the magic of the internet to one of the 13 primary Domain Name Servers located worldwide.
The Internet Software Consortiums' "F" Server, one of the 13 root DNS Servers handles more than 270 Million requests for addresses per day according to their site. The 13 DNS Servers are designated A-M.
The most affected servers, according to Internet performance firm Matrix NetSystems, were the "A" and "J" servers owned by VeriSign Global Registry Services in Herndon, Va., the "G" server owned by the U.S. Department of Defense Network Information Center in Vienna, Va., the "H" server at the U.S. Army Research Lab Aberdeen, Md., the "I" server located in Stockholm, the "K" server located in London and the "M" server in Tokyo. According to Matrix NetSystems who is following and measuring the attacks stated the DNS network average reachability dropped only to around 94% from its normal near 100%.
More than 4,000 Denial of Service attacks hit the internet each week according to data collected by the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis. Most of these attacks are targeted at a single DNS server or a small group of DNS Servers, instead of the primary servers like in this case.
Regardless of the nature of the attack, which according to reports is still ongoing, the attack shows some strengths and weaknesses in the internet subsystem. Most of the root servers run on VERY expensive equipment, or computer servers that most internet companies cannot afford. While the "main 13" root servers for the internet are very strong, their continued and increasing use highlights trouble areas on the internet where new sites and ISPs being setup across the world misconfigure their servers resulting in more traffic to the root servers.
With internet usage increasing, its sure that the companies and institutions maintaining the root primary servers of the internets DNS system will keep a keen eye on maintaining such strong preformance. For this last attack, they faired quite well.
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