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ISP Forced Out of Business by DoS 535

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sucky-reality dept.
flyhmstr writes "According to a report on ISPReview Cloud Nine have been forced off line and out of business thanks to the actions of crackers deciding to go play with some DoS tools." It's only getting worse. The kids are getting more and more aggressive as time goes on and it gets easier and easier to launch a large scale DoS. As any techie knows, fixing the problem is far easier said then done... but as a frequent recipient of the sharp end of the DoS stick, I sure wish it wasn't an issue.
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ISP Forced Out of Business by DoS

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  • whoops (Score:5, Funny)

    by magicslax (532351) <frank_salimNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:28AM (#2881606)
    of course a nice healthy slashdotting right now doesn't help anybody's case. :grin:
    • Re:whoops (Score:3, Informative)

      The Register have the text of the announcement at the moment.
      • Re:whoops (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Alan Partridge (516639) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @11:21AM (#2882328) Journal
        it's kind of ironic that it's really the ISPs that are to blame for the proliferation of DDOS attacks anyway, they are the ones allowing their users machines to send out ping floods and nasty UDP crap in the first place. ISPs seem eager enough to bump users off for exceeding their (usually unpublished) bandwidth limits, but they couldn't care less about virus and DDOS traffic.
  • It's very sexy to support programmers who fight 'bad' encryption routines, 'ludicrous' copyright schemes, and the like, but when it comes to skript k1ddi5 hacking OUR stuff, we want to string them up by thier fingernails.

    The tough part of this issue is that it begs the question (from the general population's viewpoint): "Which side of the law are we (slashdot community) on?" The unwashed masses out there see both of these as the same thing...
    • by BgJonson79 (129962) <[ude.ipw.mula] [ta] [htimsrs]> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:36AM (#2881649)
      If the scrupt kiddies buy the hardware like we buy the DVDs maybe you have a case, otherwise it seems to me like apples and oranges to me.
      • by fatphil (181876) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:20AM (#2881914) Homepage
        You're far to direct to get any attention, alas. You deserve an upmod for sure.

        To reiterate and expand:

        The DoS-ers are causing material and practical harm to the equipment of others.

        The LiVid guys etc. are doing something useful and practical with something that they own.

        The two situations are _diametrically opposed_.

        FP.
        (I don't mind being redundant if it helps some people get the point!)
    • by berzerke (319205) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:39AM (#2881667) Homepage

      The unwashed masses out there see both of these as the same thing...



      That is the problem. I always try to explain it this way: There are good doctors, and there are bad doctors. There are good lawyers, and there are bad lawyers. There are good cops, and there are bad cops. (etc.) And there are good hackers, and bad hackers.

    • the same side as always.
      the 'slashdot community'is against unfair laws , but in favour of good laws.

      destroying something without a good reason is just wrong.
    • by bwt (68845) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:42AM (#2881699) Homepage
      We're on the side that says information is not a crime, but attacking someone is.

      Writing a DoS tool is not a crime. Using it on someone else is. What's so hard to understand?
      • Or in this case...

        Programs don't kill servers, malformed packets kill servers.
      • Writing a DoS tool is not a crime. Using it on someone else is.

        I agree. In support of that viewpoint, I would give the following example counter argument.

        Guns are bad. Nuclear weapons are bad. Let's remove them both from the military. Studying how these things are built and used is not a worthwhile endevor. Since we don't believe in attacking someone for no reason, we don't need any weapons. We also don't need to study how offensive weapons might be used against us. Therefore there is no reason for their existance. Let's just pass a WMCA (Weapons Millenium Contraband Act) law and outlaw anyone even thinking about how weapons work or how reinforcements might be vulnerable to weapons.

        (Disclaimer: I don't own anything which was designed to be used as a weapon; lest someone pigenhole me into a certian group.)
        • by Catiline (186878) <akrumbach@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:38AM (#2882036) Homepage Journal
          Counterargument to your very silly counterargument:

          Doctors study illness not to cause it, but to cure it.

          I know that politicians, when dealing with computer technology, like to follow your facetious argument. The problem is that the general public has a hard time realizing programs are more like a leatherman multitool (wide purpose) and less like an EEG machine (one purpose). I've used Word to doodle, or play games (it's quite fun mangling the program using VBScript). Is it a crime for me to do so? After all, the same skills have been used to write virii or munge the security of a LAN.

          I understand the twin concepts of responsibility and accountability: those are what keep me from considering any hacking. I've almost always known how to break security on any computer system I used; those two ethical precepts kept me from actually doing it (despite often strong temptation to the contrary). And if they were taught in public schools- and made to stick- script kiddies probably would be managable.

          This is not to absolve network admins of their responsibility (to have a good firewall, practice proper security, etc). I just think that maybe we need consider the possibility that where the slashdot community stands isn't pro or con, but a sensible and logical medium.
      • We're on the side that says information is not a crime, but attacking someone is.

        You are on that side, but not everyone is. I've seen stories about companies that Slashdot criticizes fill up with comments along the lines of "I'm DoS'ing them now, and here's the script I'm using." Never heard a word of protest about this from the Slashdot editors before.

      • Writing a DoS tool is not a crime.

        This is true, if you know your boundries. You would get an "illegal operation" message if you tried to access more than 640K of memory.
    • Can't speak for the rest of the slashdotters, but I don't want them to be prosecuted... I want the insecurity to be repaired, which is what we've always wanted.

      What happens in the business world with the DMCA, they would arrest who-ever pointed out that DDoSing was a possibility. Just the opposite of the solution.

      Besides, it's a trivial fix... The only problem is that nobody takes the initative.
      • Can't speak for the rest of the slashdotters, but I don't want them to be prosecuted... I want the insecurity to be repaired, which is what we've always wanted.

        Taking this to an absurdly inappopriate analogy: If some pranksters fire bombed an old age home killing all inside, is the solution to call for old age homes to be built with fireproof walls and armed guards out front? Where does the responsibility of the criminal end and the responsibility of the victim begin?

      • Besides, it's a trivial fix...


        Technically trivial, perhaps. Administratively, it is extremely non-trivial, and that's just as big a factor. Please get off the "If I can do it in my home network of three machines, it must be just as easy to do for the whole internet" horse.

      • I want them arrested, and to suffer.

        The one wrong (ISPs with bad security) doesn't mitigate the other (socially stunted little idiots making other people suffer for kicks).

        It seems to me that you are making exactly the same argument used by firearm opponents - who blame Colt, Smith&Wesson, et al. for violent crime, neglecting to blame the criminals for their part.
    • We (the slashdot community) (except for the trolls) don't cause inconvience to innocent bystandars/consumers, and we don't cause headaches for those who actually do something, only to the lawyers and politicians and freeloaders (RIAA, MPAA, et cetera).
    • Ethics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Aceticon (140883) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:49AM (#2881735)
      As usual this is a question of ethics.

      It has nothing to do with hackers, crackers, RIAAs, MPAAs or the color green - it has all to do with freedom of information:

      - I support freedom of information, and by extension those that help make information free.

      - I'm against restriction of information (any kind of information - bad, good, usefull or useless). Naturaly i am by extension against those that try to constrain that freedom.

      - Which side of the law am i on?
      Neither side. My ethics are independent of the law.

      Going back to this specific case, i'm against however did the DDoS attacks because they went against other people's freedom to give and receive information.
      • Re:Ethics (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Em Emalb (452530)
        I think a lot of people are like this.... until someone comes along and does something horrible to them. Then they change their toon fast. I am not saying this against you Aceticon, but you know it's true. People scream for freedoms until they get abused by it and then the song changes. Just a thought.
    • by phathead296 (461366) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:51AM (#2881745) Homepage
      There is a world of difference between trying to maintain our fair use rights or exposing bad "security" methods and launching a DDoS attack against ANYONE.

      This is not a black and white issue. A DoS attack is both illegal and imoral, as what you are doing hurts a large group of people. Exposing bad security in e-book files will help people in the long run. (Although it will help the copyright holders and not us :( )

      As for the general population, it depends entirely on what the media reports. They can report that "hackers" have cracked a protection scheme, or they can report that a digital protection scheme was proven inadequate. Both are technically true, but each favors one group as the good guy. Unfortunately, since news is an entertainment forum, the first is more likely to be reported.

      Until the general population is tech savvy enough to understand these issues, the media will have complete control over their opinions.

      Cheers,
      Phathead
    • by Flower (31351) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:22AM (#2881925) Homepage
      Taking the article at face value, a business has had to close because it was being deliberately assaulted by vandals. I can point out people who are now out of work, customers who have lost a service they wanted, resources wasted, etc., etc.. This wasn't "our" stuff that was being abused. It was a bunch of regular Joes and Janes out their being deprived of a service they purchased.

      Compare this to stuff like DeCSS, Felton's work on SDMI and the rest. Showing why something doesn't work or getting additional functionality out of a product just isn't the same as maliciously depriving a business of the resources it requires to survive.

      It isn't hard to explain but what is hard is getting the message out when Disney and the like are spouting their propaganda at 11 and with the simple fact that this isn't a bullet issue for the proverbial Joe Average.

  • DoS and Spam (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wiredog (43288)
    I have become convinced that spam, and script kiddy idiocy such as this, will only stop when Bad Things(TM) start happening to the abusers. Bad Things(TM) would hopefully be legal, in that the abusers go to jail. But that may not happen until after the victims, seeing no help coming from the law, take things into their own hands.

    Judge Lynch never sleeps.

    • Problem is, legal or not, electronic crime is _so_ hard to gather evidence and prosecute.
      A skript kiddy is pretty safe, as are spammers. It's hard to prosecute, difficult to gather evidence (a compromised machine is fundamentally 'contamintated' evidence, an uncompromised machine hasn't been hacked and therefore is rarely worth prosecuting). Computer forensics have been around for a while, but the kiddiez are protected by 2 things.
      Corporate inertia - the cost of admitting a break in and the damage it does to the share price is often more than any damage an intruder can do.
      Sheer numbers. There's an awful lot of idiots with net connections, who think its l33t to DoS, skript etc. Computer literacy isn't always a good thing :)
      • Re:DoS and Spam (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mpe (36238)
        A skript kiddy is pretty safe, as are spammers

        Depends, if a spammer is trying to sell a real product they should be perfectly possible to track down.
  • I wonder why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:33AM (#2881628) Homepage Journal
    Can someone please clue me into why people do this? I don't quite understand this mentality. I have never done something bad like this simply because I could. Am I a rarity in this world? Do these kids need a hug? Why would you do this? Feeling "elite" because you can knock down an ISP? Take your energy and do something positive with it. IMO, this is petty and retarded. Maybe these script kiddies can go knock down a hospital or something next, hey why not, it doesn't hurt anyone right? RIGHT? forking iceholes.
    • Re:I wonder why? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jlower (174474)
      Can someone please clue me into why people do this?

      Because they can.

      Sad, but true - that is the long and short of it. DoS attacks are modern vandilism.
    • Re:I wonder why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sphealey (2855) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:41AM (#2881688)
      Can someone please clue me into why people do this? I don't quite understand this mentality. I have never done something bad like this simply because I could. Am I a rarity in this world?
      If 1000 people walk down a backstreet past an empty building, 998 will just pass by. 2 will throw a rock through a window and spraypaint the walls.

      This just seems to be part of human nature; I haven't seen much change in the percentage of people who behave this way since my childhood (1960's) anyway. The problem is that the world today is so interconnected, and also dependent on technologies whose webs of interconnection are more fragile than we like to think, that the 2/1000 with the desire to damage can do a lot more damage to a lot more people than ever before.

      I am a bit discouraged myself about whether or not this can be stopped on the Internet, personally.

      sPh

      • Re:I wonder why? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MaufTarkie (6625)
        It's also a lot easier to be "anonymous" on the Internet than in real life. An innocent bystander can't happen by and notice a crime taking place on the 'Net due to the nature of the structure, so there's a sense of "I won't get caught if I DDoS". Because of this, I believe the ratio is more than 2/1000 on the 'Net -- probably more like 50/1000. Due to the anonyminity, people feel they can get away with more than they would normally feel comfortable with in meat space.
        • Re:I wonder why? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by HiThere (15173)
          I, personally, would not put it as high a 0.001. The problem is, it doesn't need to be.

          There are two main possible solutions. The legislative and the technical. I would really prefer that a techincal solution were created, though I don't know what form it would take. It would need to avoid any centralized control point. And it would need to be low overhead.

          Unfortunately, any real answer would probably involve a redesign of the TCP/IP protocols. And even then ... It's sort of like trying to listen to a conversation at a cocktail party. It may be that the only feasible solution is to reduce the noise. Somehow.

          All I can come up with is using one port to receive non-session messages, and only echoing back session cookies to valid addresses. On a second port only accpeting messages with a valid session cookie in the header. This would aid in dropping bad messages quickly, but doesn't do much else for a DDOS.
          .
      • Re:I wonder why? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cxreg (44671)
        If 1000 people walk down a backstreet past an empty building, 998 will just pass by. 2 will throw a rock through a window and spraypaint the walls.

        But this isn't throwing a rock and spraypainting. That's more like trolling Slashdot. This is setting the building on fire. The difference between what these kids do and an arsonist is the FBI actually cares about arson.
        • Re:I wonder why? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sphealey (2855)
          But this isn't throwing a rock and spraypainting. That's more like trolling Slashdot. This is setting the building on fire. The difference between what these kids do and an arsonist is the FBI actually cares about arson.
          I don't disagree, but keep in mind two things: (i) if you have ever done long-term maintenance on a building, you know there is only one real enemy: water. A building can stand for several hundred years if the roof and windows are intact. One broken window that goes unrepaired means the inevitable destruction of the building (ii) "broken windows" is Jane Jacobs' shorthand for what starts a neighborhood, as well as a single building, on the path to destruction.

          sPh

    • Re:I wonder why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Thomas M Hughes (463951) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:42AM (#2881690)
      Part of me thinks it has a lot to do with the online mentality of a lot of people who are powerless in the real world, but feel empowered when online. I'm most likely pulling this out of my ass, but its something I've seen fairly often when hanging around EFnet in years past.

      In real life, you can't just take something from someone else, unless you're much bigger than them. When you're online, you just need to have the ability to access a lot of bandwidth. So, if someone has a channel on IRC that I want, I DoS the server, split it and take the channel. Now, supposedly this doesn't happen as much these days, but it used to happen fairly often back in the day.

      There's also online cliques, who for lack of better explaination seem to act as online gangs. Loose groups of friends who associate, talk, and dislike the same people. Thus, much like real life gangs, if one gets ticked off at another, they get their friends to make their life hellish for the opposing party. I wouldn't be suprised if they DoS'd a dialup user just in an attempt to knock him offline and went a little overboard. Or were trying to DoS an IRC bot. Or even a webpage.

      Of course, I really have no idea what caused this incident. This is mostly just speculation. But I'm fairly certain at least one script kiddie has had similar motives in mind during his mischief. Kids will be kids, and that involves doing stupid stuff that they don't understand the consequences of. That doesn't mean we should string them up, but it does mean we should make efforts to make it more difficult for them to do damage.
    • Re:I wonder why? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by eXtro (258933) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:47AM (#2881721) Homepage
      I've had experience with a couple of little bastards that have done this as well as other things. It's not all that complicated to understand why after talking with one of them at length. They're fairly safe from prosecution, they enjoy the fact that it pisses people off, and revel in the fact that you can't really do anything about it. There are also people who look up for them for their ability to blindly execute a script somebody else wrote.


      I don't think writing software of any type should be a crime, but I think in cases where there is clear damage (like this company that went under) the usage of the script should be treated as a criminal matter. This could easily involve conspiracy, vandalism etc. charges.


      I was originally tempted to start releasing poisoned scripts, scripts that would work as intended when pointed at local machines but would have undesired consequences (hard disk corruption, file deletion etc) if used against external domains. I'd hate to see somebody harmed through legitimate use of the scripts though (auditing a site you have permission to audit from a remote location for instance).

    • Re:I wonder why? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Skinny Rav (181822)
      Why asking?

      It is an old thing. Always and everywhere some young males have an urgeing desire to destroy something just for destroing it. Today if they have muscles they go and smash windows, destroy park benches or just bully others. If they don't - they rund DoS attacks.

      Let us say it straight: there is no difference between a script kiddy and a brainless thug who ie. cuts bus seats with a knife.

      Raf
    • Can someone please clue me into why people do this?

      This is a somewhat larger question than I think you realise and one that people have been struggling to understand for as long as there have been people. Why do people do bad things? Why are they selfish, cruel, malicious? Why do even good people not have the self control to always follow their better instincts? Why do some people not even seem to have those better instincts?

      I'll be up front and mention that I am a christian (Now THAT is a statement to start a flame war on this board - not my intention but my experience is that there are a lot of people that are quite indignant with me for what I believe. But since it IS what I believe [I'm not making it up to start a flame war] & is relevant to your question I don't feel particularly compelled to keep silent.) Anyway, christians (and therefore, I) believe that every single person is 'fallen' and inclined to be 'bad' (or evil to use the old-fashioned term) and do 'bad things' (or sin to use the old-fashioned term). 'Bad' (or evil) ultimately being defined by christians as being selfish - living for oneself rather than for God & your fellow man. Though we are all the same in this regard it is expressed differently in each of us as individuals. The behaviour of these kids doesn't have any particular appeal to me but I think for them it is a way of selfishly having "power" they don't otherwise have. They are probably incapable of doing something positive that would have as much impact or bring them as much or notoriety. But here they are a few, or maybe even one immature kid that brought an entire company staffed by mature, technically astute adults to bankruptcy. Excersising power, having an impact, feels good, feels like importance - and in their self-absorbed state of mind the plight of the people affected does not enter in.
    • Re:I wonder why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283)
      Nothing has changed. It's the new CB radio of the 1970's. If they didn't like what their neighbor said, and he couldn't identify him, he got a 1KW linear amplifier (not leagal) and ran that on the 5 watt band to deny him the ability to carry on a conversation with anybody. We used to refer to these abusers as being 10 feet tall behind the microphone. Their mission was to dissrupt someone elses conversation in an airwaves ownership battle. Radio direction finding equipment was rare and expensive. Most people couldn't find one and take the time to track someone down. Many times by the time you got close to finding an antagonist, they would finish the flame war and go silent. I had a RDF (homebuilt) and used it against the worst nearby offenders that were overly perseitant at being a pain to somebody. The element of supprise announcing the address of the offender on the air was worth the hunt. Most people were so used to being un-trackable, they got quite bold at being abusive. A positive ID came as a major blow to them. Suddenly they had to worry about angry neighbors attacking and destroying their car, windows, etc. (this happened to an abuser trolling for flame wars on air, his car was totaly destroyed by parties unknown) They were no longer able to hide when the source of the attacks were revealed. With distributed DOS attacks, it is harder to track the offender. Unfortunately this ability to hide the true identity allows abuse to reach further and disrupt more communications than it used to while being harder to track.
  • Extreme? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Shimmer (3036)
    IANAS(ysadmin), but this doesn't quite add up for me. Do they really need to go out of business? Heck, if the company is "solvent", it seems to me they could find a way to survive. In the worst case, they switch upstream providers, get new IP addresses for all their boxes, and even change domain names. Yes this is huge pain in the ass for everyone (especially customers), but I can't imagine that shuttering is any more convenient.

    -- Brian
    • Re:Extreme? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by arkanes (521690) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {senakra}> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:37AM (#2881656) Homepage
      They get charged through the nose for all the bandwidth the attack takes. Theres a certain amount of money budgeted for bandwidth, but the a DoS attack hits and suddenly you're running at 100x normal bandwidth cost for however long it takes you to break the attack - that kind of fee can certainly break a company that already lives on the edge.
    • Re:Extreme? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sql*kitten (1359)
      Do they really need to go out of business? Heck, if the company is "solvent", it seems to me they could find a way to survive

      Maybe they just thought, it's not worth it. Why work your ass off to build a company if people, maybe even some of your own customers, are just going to pointlessly destroy it? There are easier, saner ways to earn a living.
  • Copy of article (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Today looks set to be a sad and frustrating one for anybody who was ever a customer of the once popular unmetered dialup and broadband ISP Cloud-Nine.

    At precisely 10:16am a few minutes ago Emeric Miszti (CEO) and John Parr (Operations Director) of the C9 ISP posted what's likely to be their final announcement on our forums. C9 is now the latest ISP to close, although it's the first we've ever seen to go from a hack attack!:

    Cloud Nine regret to announce that at 7:45 this morning the decision was taken to shut down our Internet connections with immediate effect.

    We tried overnight to bring our web servers back online but were seeing denial of service attacks against all our key servers, including email and DNS. These were of an extremely widespread nature.

    We felt we had a moral duty not to expose our customers to possible attacks as well.

    We must thank BT for all the help they provided us with in trying to bring these attacks to an end. We worked with them for the last few weeks to investigate this problems but ultimately we did not believe that we could survive these attacks and that it would be in the best interests of both ourselves and our customers to close our Internet service and seek a transfer of our services to another ISP.

    We now wish to initiate a speedy transfer of servers, domain names, etc to interested Surftime ISP's and NT portfolio hosters since this would be the quickest way to get the affected customers online again. Please contact John Parr on 07740 423993 if interested.

    We want to thank our customers for all the support over the last few days. Ultimately these attacks denied the service not to us but to many thousands of British businesses and ordinary people - this was an attack against everyone with no consideration for anyone!

    The company is solvent but if a sale of assets cannot take place quickly then an administrator will be appointed. We have had to pay our excellent staff to the end of the month and we feel really sorry for them as well and would like to thank them for all their efforts over the years and the commitment shown over the last few difficult days.

    All the directors are feeling absolutely gutted since we have all spent nearly 6 years building this company and its reputation to see it destroyed by a brazen act of cyber terrorism - well at this moment we can think of no words to express our true feelings.

    Emeric Miszti
    CEO

    John Parr
    Operations Director

    We're extremely sorry to see them go, not least because they often provided a very important insight into the internal wrangling that goes on between ISP and operator, it often goes unmentioned.

    However the fact that such a long standing ISP was forced out of business by hackers is also of great concern and will no doubt be picked up on by the media. We can only hope they catch the people involved.
  • WHAT!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by BryceH (263331) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:35AM (#2881638) Homepage
    but as a frequent recipient of the sharp end of the DoS stick, I sure wish it wasn't an issue

    ha ha ha.. this comming from the kingpen of DOS .. no /. has never DOS-ed a site... really i swear..
  • Why let them win? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SID*C64 (444002)
    It seems kind of silly to shut down your business because of some little hax0rs. Granted, in this economic climate it could certainly hurt business... however it simply doesn't make sense unless there are some underlying problems.

    This isn't like 31337 warez d00d shutting down his FTP server and crying to his mommy because someone did a DELE on all his pr0n files. Closing down a business due to hacking attempts or DoS seems rather harsh action to take.
  • by johnburton (21870) <johnb@jbmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:36AM (#2881648) Homepage
    First they go offline for days with no information available about why. Then they say they are coming back on line after a "hack" but that they will have to put their prices up. Finally they just appear to just give up and shut down.

    It all seems very strange to me.
    • http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/23770.html [theregister.co.uk]

      "...What followed was first a Firewall password brute force attack resulting in successful hash and destruction of the firewall,"

      If they leave their firewall accessible to any sort of brute force password attack, its a good bet they don't know what their doing and would have no idea how to stop a DoS attack.

      I agree with some of the other posts suggesting that this DoS was just a handy beard, and that they were in some sort of financial difficulty.
  • by Hollins (83264) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:37AM (#2881652) Homepage
    They had to have been in a dire position to start with, or merely decided to sell out. This gave them a reason to explain dumping everyone's accounts over to another ISP. They didn't specify how much they made off the deal.

    I can't see a healthy, competent ISP being put out of business by dos attacks. Yet.
  • by tarsi210 (70325) <nathan@na t h a n pralle.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:38AM (#2881660) Homepage Journal
    Sadly enough (and I certainly feel for the ISP), new laws concerning these attacks aren't going to help anyone. For laws to be effective, you actually have to catch the person in question, and with DDOS that's darn tough.

    I'm not sure what the real answer is, though. I find myself reading these stories and articles and feeling helpless myself, even though I'm not directly involved. But I am a programmer, and we're supposed to have brilliant solutions to these issues....but I can't come up with one. The underlying structure of the 'net itself is to blame for allowing these attacks, and you know to change that will be like getting all cars to convert to bacon fat gas.

    How does one instigate a major industry shift in how we do things? Would it even be worth it, or will we just see these random business fold due to stupid fucking kiddies?
    • While I agree that catching the person behind this, and giving them real punishment, is the best solution, it is not the only one.



      There have been a couple stories on /. already about those with insecure networks being sued and forced by the courts to shutdown until they can secure their networks. This (and others) ddos is probably coming from insecure computers. Yet, if you track down some of these computers, all but the smallest ISP's could care less that their network is being used to attack someone.



      Perhaps some laws that make it easier and cheaper to shutdown the insecure computers will help put a stop to that. Perhaps something similar to the DMCA with regards to copyright infrigement, where if the ISP pulls the plug, they have legel liability protection, only with strong penalities for making a false report.

  • by Tri0de (182282)
    IMHO the effort should be made to catch a few of the little bastards and see to it than an eXtreme example is made for all. Old enough to run a script, old enough to be tried as an adult and spend the next 20 years doing tech support for Pelican Bay in between visits from their new 'boyfriend'.

    And there is a pretty clear difference between 'white hat' and 'black hat' hacking. Did anybody ACTUALLY SUSTAIN *PROVABLE* DAMAGE? (and not like the frame up where they claimed that Kevin stole $100,000 worth of info, or some such BS). These punks do more real damage each day than Mitnick EVER did.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:39AM (#2881671)
    One of the main reasons DoS attacks work is because of misconfiguration at ISP's. If the ISP's blocked outgoing packets with forged IP src addresses, and known bad packets, then the severity of the problem would greatly diminish.

    ISP's don't do this, because either they don't understand it's a problem, or they don't know how, or their poor NAS boxes would collapse if they were asked to filter the traffic, instead of just forwarding it.
  • by beamz (75318) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:40AM (#2881675)
    I know this is going to get modded down but this is what the community as a whole gets for having the luxury of being pseudo-anonymous.

    There isn't much for accountability when it comes to the net and everyone knows this. Lawmakers are doing very little about SPAM and it's a form of DoS but people cry afoul when some kids were pissed off at someone on IRC and DoS multiple large networks.

    If people aren't required to be accountable for ALL of their actions then this isn't going to stop anytime soon. Unfortunately it's not hard to get access to connections with a lot of bandwidth so it's easy to pound anyone into oblivion.

    I don't know what the solution is but as more companies get DoS'ed while their livelyhood depends on the net, you'll see more being done.

    My question is if it costs companies so much to deal with SPAM, why isn't more being done? Isn't this a similar issue?
    • In her novel, Tea from an Empty Cup, Pat Cadigan predicted a world with 2 Internets. One was 100% accountable. It was the main network used for real bussiness. There was no annonymity. The second network was designed to allow for anonymity. It was an "any thing goes" network where spoofing was the rule not the exception. I would like to see these networks. When I need to get work done I would use the accountable network. When I want to view pr0n I would use the other network. I think having two distinct networks like this would be a good compromise for the privacy advocats, and those tired of DOS attacks.

      Ofcourse there are a *few* (as in many) technical difficulties to resolve first.

  • Register coverage (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zocalo (252965) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:40AM (#2881677) Homepage
    The Register [theregister.co.uk] is an effective mirror of the article too, but they also have a *tiny* bit more information.
  • by gabeman-o (325552) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:40AM (#2881678)
    I run a small ISP, and two of our clients decided to run fragmented DoS attacks and ping floods that consumed the entire 100mbit connection to our main server. Our ISP got royally pissed and cancelled our services with them because it was against their TOS/AUP.

    I have moved on to a better ISP that actually filters attacks leaving and entering the network.
    • Huh... But what did you do about the clients running fragmented DoS attacks, and using ping flood tools on YOUR network? Don't you have a terms and coditions of service?

      Mod me down for this, or forgive me if I'm missing something here, but it seems like you passed the problem on to someone else instead of dealing with the source offenders yourself.
  • Dos for weeks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by f00zbll (526151) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:41AM (#2881684)
    According to the article, the attack was been going on for a couple weeks. Part of me finds this very disturbing and alarming. Considering how many times IPv6 has been posted on /. and the possibility of mediating the problem of distributed denial of service attacks with the new features of IPv6, why hasn't adoption been more rapid? If a group of vandals can bring down an ISP, what's to stop them from repeating it?

    Now that the Internet has shown to be a useful medium and is rapidly becoming an utility, it's time to make it more secure and robust against DDos attacks. The technology exist already, the telco's need to take the initiative and make it happen. From this document [ietf.org] on ietf.org site:

    7. Security consideration
    Any public proxy is inherently a source of DOS attack. Rate limiting packet emission as suggested in 3.5 is expected to lower the risks.

  • by DotComVictim (454236) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:41AM (#2881685)
    A solution to the DOS problem was posed at the Adelaide IETF meeting a couple years ago. Basically, some small percentage of packets randomly selected get ICMP notices from routers, with last and next hop information, that is forwarded to the destination. So if you are getting a large number of packets from a single source, you get proportionally more of these packets, and can use a heuristical engine to model the source, even for DDOS problems. This allows you to trace back to the offending network/ISP and shut off the DOS

    Why did no one do this? It requires changes to router firmware, I'm not sure about Cisco firmware upgrades, but I thought they were at least possible. Besides, they could use this as a selling point and declare their old routers obsolete.

    Admittedly, the model breaks down under MPLS, since it is difficult to track the cloud, but you can at least track entrance and exit points from the cloud.
  • 1) I wonder how likely is it that the DoS attacks were an excuse to find a reason other than the "we're really not profitable anymore thanks to big national ISPs" reason for bankruptcy (which is why lots of ISPs are going under lately.) I hate to say it, but after hearing all these companies blame the 9-11 attacks on going bankrupt, I've grown a bit cynical. I really wouldn't be surprised to find out that Could 9 was financially hurting already (regardless of their claim that they weren't.) The DoS attacks allow them to make a nice "good guy being bullied" exit.

    2) This is awful news for other ISPs, since this will give the script kiddies incentive to do it again. Not only did you get an ISP to shut down ("Wow, isn't that cool" must be running through their heads) but they also got featured on /. This will just embolden these kiddies to do it again. sigh

    3) (yep, one more just came to me) Can you say serious implications for the future of Corporate Espionage?
  • The whole story... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by routerwhore (552333)
    I suspect there is more to this story. They may just be checking out due to DOS attacks as an excuse for their investors. There are many ways to combat a DOS attack and BT could have played a large part in that respect. The tools and techniques are available, even to mitigate a DDOS from multiple real hacked hosts.
  • by prophecyvi (249996) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:42AM (#2881696) Homepage
    The Register has a story on this as well, mostly a rehash of ISPReview. Link here [theregister.co.uk].

    From that article:

    Speaking to The Register a dejected Mr Miszti said: "This is terrorism - pure and simple. I never want to relive the last seven days again.

    You're thinking "terrorism? yeah right".

    It's too bad (for them) they're in the UK... in the U.S., under the so-called "Patriot Act" this IS in fact terrorism. Read for yourself here [eff.org].
  • Obstruction? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hughk (248126) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:43AM (#2881703) Journal
    As far as I can see, the script k1dd13z, are intentionally interfering with a business. Treat it as any other kind of commercial blockade and if they persist, let them be sued.

    In the UK, the Computer Misuse act is such a catchall, it would be easy to claim damages (less easy to collect though).

    Slashdot is known for having a DOS effect, but at least it is people attempting to view a site for its content. Its tough if you pay your hosting company for bandwidth but, at least it's legitimate and its is coming from a lot of users.

    The trouble is, so does a distributed DOS. This has a lot of unwitting users too. It is extremely difficult to trace who is giving the orders and the actual attack 'bots run on any suitably unprotected system that happens to have conveniant broadband access to the web. Even the Whitehouse was hit, liuckily the attack 'bot was dumb and a quick switch to a backup IP address solved the problem.

    The only solution that I know is to use a private network (as done by several securities exchanges). You can block out all of an exchange's internet access, but you will not hit the private network. Users without a private network connection can fall back to switched circuit connections (i.e., ISDN) when the Internet is down.

  • by Florian Weimer (88405) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:46AM (#2881715) Homepage
    if my business plans didn't work out.

    (Read the final paragraphs of the announcement. Why do they stress that they are solvent?)
  • by Twylite (234238) <twylite&crypt,co,za> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:47AM (#2881724) Homepage

    I could be a little out of date (maybe even a lot ;) ), but last time I checked you could do a lot of calming of DoSing by implementing proper packet filtering on routers.

    IIRC most DoSing relies on the kiddie hiding their source address (so that they can't be traced). So ensure that the router closest to the kiddie knows all the IPs it is allowed to accept, and rejects (and logs) all others.

    This puts an onus on ISPs to handle the situation. Any ISP which doesn't react immediately to a DoSer from it or a downstream stands to lose (all of) its uplink(s).

    Most port handling equipment can handle quite complex filtering on its own, knowing the IP allocated to a port and filtering all packets without that as its source. Port handlers typically forward to a router anyway, so its easy for an ISP to say "that interface talks to that rack, which can use IP range X to Y, so filter everything else". Immediately your script kiddie is limited to faking addresses of other users in the range.

    This screws up a number of DDoS attacks I know of (where the reply to an unwitting host causes shit for the replier), and makes it a lot easier to trace the kiddie at least to within a limited number of possibilities.

    If the ISP supplies a link to another ISP it must ensure it toes the line. Bulk links to corporate customers or anyone with a range of IPs (rather than just one) at the other end of the link can usually be handled like dial-ups: port handlers filter out bad source IPs.

    Does anyone know of technical and/or political reasons why this can't work? If there are no technical problems then maybe an IETF policy committee needs to make it a standards issue.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually i find most script kiddies don't bother to spoof the source IPs. Why should they? Unless it's to break a crappy IDS like port sentry...but generally i find most DoSes are not spoofed. If you check out where the packets are coming from usually it is a redhat 6.2 box at an ISP or NT 4.0 box at an insurance company or some such thing...there are a lot of misconceptions about DoS attacks based on sites like grc.com speaking as if they are some authority on the subject and people believing them. If you have ever been hit with multiple DoSes you know the claim that all the attackers use cracked residential boxes on cable/DSL is false. Both at work and at home i have been on the recieving end of DoS attacks and only once did it come from compromised residential hosts. Of course getting hit by a few DoSes does not make one an authority so don't take my word for it. Still i think the kiddies have many different techniques...some go for creating armies of residential connection zombies and others just go for the ISPs and other companies with plentiful bandwith.

      Sure stopping spoofed packets is nice, but that's not gonna come close to solving it. I have sent e-mails to several listed contacts at the hosts that attacked my systems and never got any response...what am i supposed to do? Sue the company who got their bandwith stolen? what good does that do? Demand to see their logs? If they didn't notice a massive DoS launched from their systems what chance do they have of having unmolested and accurate logs?

      Really the only way i see to put a dent in DoS activity is don't let your boxes get cracked. Easier said than done. That's the only way that's really gonna work, don't let these kids take control of your boxes.

      As for why was I such a frequent target, was it my fault for attracting the attacks? I refuse to go down that path. That is like saying to a battered wife "well you must have done something to piss off your husband!". There is no justification for DoS attacks.
  • by Wanderer1 (47145) <wanderer1&pobox,com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @09:56AM (#2881766)
    I saw a comment in here blaming the Internet's end-to-end design for the ability for individuals to cause such interruptions to service. BUT...

    With all the designs available to us today, as engineers, we should be able to employ traffic shaping devices to limit the amount of load any given site can generate on the net. Cache, throttle and filter. We build routers that can switch ungodly amounts of packets per second (obviously enough to flood the link to Cloud 9's boxes.

    So why can't Cloud 9 invest in a few black box traffic shapers (I know they exist) to smooth out the requests?

    Just where is the point of failure, anyway?

    As long as we continue to design our edge devices to be layover victims, we'll always have these problems. The network delivers, the computer abides. Well, perhaps the computer shouldn't be so quick to respond.

    -b-
  • Steve Gibson was able to deal with a DoS and it didn't put him out of business, so surely an ISP could too.

    Unless of course, it was a mom-and-pop shop ISP who didn't know an ethernet jack from a phone jack (hey, I only did that once!), and I've certainly seen plenty of those...
  • by CDWert (450988) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:02AM (#2881798) Homepage
    We had a DOS issue once,
    Kinda funny actually, poorly done, we tracked down who it was, Unknown to the dimwit on his dads T1 (at home his dad was playing hosting provider) The admin at his upstream was a friend of mice accross town, I called paul up and said hey what you trying to pull here, he chuckeled and said I know, I know, I just saw the traffic, you wanna know who it is, you want me to cut him off ?, I said nah, leave him up, I dont want him to know I know, My friend kindly gave me his name and address,

    I showed up at around 3:30 since I figured it was they guys kid, and he should be out of school by then, I took a friend(witness along) I didnt want this punk saying I beat him up or anything. I had a cell phone in one hand and rang the bell with th other, he came to the door and I said, right now the Police number is on this phone, I am good friends with a detective there(true) now, you either pull the plug on your end or I press send and well see how long it takes for them to come and pull the plug permanetly, although I dont think you dad would be real happy, I thought this kid was going to wet his pants, Ive only seen somebody so scared a few times, he fell back over a chair in the foyer and took off ? I looked at my friend and it was all we could do to keep a srtaiht face.

    He came back 20 seconds later and said its off, and the n stared to enquire about if I was going to tell his dad, I said no but Im sure the bill from your provider will, He was on a transfer pricing plan and this had been going on over 2 weeks while I was on vacation.

    I have "Knoked on doors" twive one was a 2 hour drive but I had other business in that area , most certainly the most effective DOS stoppages Ive ever had.

    Maybe we should form an allicance of Administrators geographically dispersed to start knocking on their doors, sort of an Administrators Militia , you knock on his in BFI and Ill knock for you when you need it. Police scare the shit out of most of these script kiddies, probably more the fear of knowing being arrested is not something easy to hide from the parents that pay for their computers and bandwidth.
  • Hold on there... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shoten (260439) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:04AM (#2881805)
    Now, I don't doubt that Cloud 9 was/is a great ISP, but I have to take their statements with just a wee grain of salt. I don't see anything there that indicates that they came under any worse of a DoS attack than scores of ISPs before them...why is it, then, that this particular ISP decided to just pack up and die over it? Something smells a little funny here, and I can't just take their attribution of the business failure to hackers as gospel.
  • by anthonyclark (17109) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:05AM (#2881816)

    The problem is that sysadmins see the scans from these kiddies and ignore them (those that even have a portsentry or similar application in place). If you saw someone walking around your house and trying the doors and windows, you'd call the police right away, wouldn't you?

    So why do the kiddies get off free? Sheer apathy from most of the sysadmins in the world.

    When you get scanned, you have the address (if it's not spoofed), you can send a mail to abuse@domain. But most people don't, because It's too much hassle or we can't be bothered or no harm was done.

    Script Kiddies will have a far harder time when admins start practising zero tolerance.

    • The authorities won't do anything to offending script kiddies unless you can show a certain dollar amount of damages. Most admins probably don't bother calling the feds because they know the feds won't do a thing.

      -Legion

    • Even on home cable, it's not feasible. I had done this when I had gotten 1-2 scans a day. I never received a response to the report. A few trojans ago, the scan rate picked up (now over a dozen a day). It's gotten to the point where I just turn the monitoring for scans off (still watch for unauthorized access). This is just me at my home PC; it would be a full time job to keep up with this. It's just not feasible.

      We need an automated tool for collecting the scan data, and depositing it in a repository. The respository can perform the correlations to track these to the source nodes. Higher level (towards core) IPSs can take the lower level (towards edge) ISPs off net until the DoS is terminated.

      If done properly, but still mostly manual operation, a DoS would last at most an hour. The problem is getting cooperation between companies and organizations that are business competitors. You need a third party independant organization (jointly or government funded) to manage the repository and request the service deactivation.

      Of course, then the repository would itself become the target for attack...
    • by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @11:50AM (#2882538)
      The problem is that sysadmins see the scans from these kiddies and ignore them (those that even have a portsentry or similar application in place). If you saw someone walking around your house and trying the doors and windows, you'd call the police right away, wouldn't you?

      You know, for a while I thought this would be a good idea. First, I set up MySQL with a DB and some tables to store information on portscans. Then, I downloaded portsentry, and hacked it slightly to make entries in the database whenever I was scanned. Then, I wrote some PHP to let me look at the results via a webpage.

      The result? I have learned that I'm scanned anywhere from 3 to 50 times per day, from all over the world. I tried emailing abuse@... as you suggest, many many times, with no results.

      Now, I have learned some interesting things by doing this:

      1. Most scans are on ports 21 (ftp) or 23 (telnet). It's hard to prosecute someone, or even get them in trouble with their ISP, simply for trying to ftp to you.
      2. Most scanners are scanning from hacked accounts. ISPs are unwilling to shut down these accounts for lack of proof, and to avoid pissing off a customer.
      3. All the scanners are quite easily blocked by portsentry.
      I no longer try to do jack sh*t about portscanners. My pleas have gone unanswered, and I simply don't care anymore. Once I have a true firewall, I'll care even less. Let them scan me.
  • by gewalker (57809) <Gary DOT Walker AT AstraDigital DOT com> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:06AM (#2881820)
    Although the news item does not justify saying that the ISP was going out of business because of DOS attacks (they were still financially solvent), perhaps the owner decided he had had enough of the problems from vandals. A well-run business will shut down and leave the neighboorhood when windows get broken repeatedly before they loose all of their money.

    Computer vandalism -- This will not decrease until we (as the technical community -- including management) decide to make some changes. Without changes, it will only get worse.

    1) Although technological solutions are useful and necessary, they are not enough. The trusted network model does not work in the real world. There must be rules, accountabilty and penalties (without penalties, nothing stops me from continuing to break the rules).

    2) Many network rules exist, some are poorly enforced.

    3) Because of packet-spoofing. Some (D)DOS attacks can be nearly impossible to shutdown. We need to make sure only legitimate packets can Internet at large. Without this rule, tracking down the vandal and applying the penalty is not practical. If packet spoofing were eliminated, it would be possible to identify culprits at a modest cost.

    4) Accoutability needs to be improved by everybody. If Nimba2002 is released tomorrow, Microsoft should be expected to make it well known, and supply a fix. Network servers should be patched. People running compromised server should be cut-off until they get fixed. These things happen by and large in a haphazard fashion today. The problem needs to be addressed at the source whenever possible.

    4) Penalties need to be commensurate with violation. A hand-slap for vandalism does not deter, a death-sentence for jaywalking deters, but it not justice either.

    5) Then maybe we should get rid of junk email for an encore.
  • by Medievalist (16032) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:08AM (#2881832)
    /.
    Back in the day, before the Internet went commercial, if you abused your connection your upstream provider (typically a bunch of long-hairs at a land-grant university) would cut you off. If they didn't do it, their upstream provider would cut them off.

    Currently, there is no real penalty for large ISPs who do not implement egress filtering (which prevents IP source spoofing) and/or refuse to co-operate in tracking down DOS sources.

    The anti-spam vigilantes have been partially effective in cutting off ISP service to the worst spammers; perhaps something similar is needed to influence the ISPs who refuse to implement egress filters.

    --Charlie
  • I realize that there are problems with this approach, but is it more fundamentally flawed than the alternatives?

    Would it not be possible to build anti-DOS features into routing protocols? If you detect a DOS attack from a link, wouldn't it be possible to push a block-list towards the router on the other side of the link? It needen't propagate, because you just want to get far enough out to block before the DOS packets reach high "density". Think avoiding them from entering the bottleneck. So if a router detects a problem, it will do a simple push in the direction.

    The goal in approaching the problem like this, would be to avoid having the anti-DOS solution become an indirect DOS.

    The block should only be temporary, too, and possibly protocol-specific, so we'll need a TTL, along with optional port numbers.

    Whaddya think, fellow geeks? Has this been done? Should it be done?
  • by Bloody Peasant (12708) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:10AM (#2881844) Homepage

    Think about it: you've just brought down a major ISP, sent their sysadmins to the unemployment lines, and now they have plenty of time on their hands, probably have copies of all the logs, and nothing better to do than go through them with a fine tooth comb to find who messed up their lives.

    Nosiree, I would not want to be in those script kiddie shoes. Not that I'm saying the sysadmins would stoop to anything illegal, but there's lots they can do legally if they find out who's behind the attack.

    • >Not that I'm saying the sysadmins would stoop to
      >anything illegal, but there's lots they can do
      >legally if they find out who's behind the attack.

      I wouldn't be so sure. Here in the UK it would seem that the Data Protection Act would stop the hacker's ISP from handing over details. See this recent story [silicon.com] from Silicon where a UK ISP has refused to cooperate over hacking allegations.

      Yet another case of UK law helping the miscreant & not the victim.

      Matt
  • by Ankou (261125)
    Perhaps we are putting our resources out to the wrong people? Who are we actually mad at? What we should be doing is stopping people from creating the tools that these "script kiddies" are using. Take that away and those lame unknowledged kids will be helpless. Not to mention if you are hosting a site that is giving these programs away or if you give internet service to those who compromise systems then you are partly to blame as well. Its time that we take responsibility for our little islands in the Internet and discipline those who live there.
  • Now there's a couple hundred 13 year olds at home masturbating to the idea that they actually can close an ISP down for good with actions like this.

    That's rather worrisome.
  • by chrispe (552912) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:13AM (#2881869)
    In the post the C9 said that they had 1000s of business offline for days. Now with commercial customers many ISPs give some type of compensation for down time. If they had 1000s of commercial customers down for that long some of them may have been banks, hospitals, government agencies and other companies that need there feed. It is very possible that this attack causing all service to be down for a long time could have caused a lot of underlining problems
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:20AM (#2881911) Homepage Journal
    Legal action has largely been considered the only way to use force on the Internet. To do this you need to know who someone is and it is very costly. If you know who they get their Internet connection through there are laws in effect that you can use to shut them down. I think this is the latest proof that non-legal force is a reality on the Internet and it is directed towards the weak link in the legal chain. ISPs have to co-operate with law enforcement or legal copyright bullies to shut down attackers like this and they are likely to be attacked in this way. Let it be known: There's a new sheriff in town and he can force you off the net.
  • by wackysootroom (243310) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:55AM (#2882153)
    CP/M Was also forced out of business by DOS.
  • Martial Law. . ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @10:59AM (#2882176)
    I recently watched one of the high-end news shows which ran an hour documentary on hackers and the net.

    For one section, they had cameras sit in on a bunch of young military techies studying the logistics of combating a huge hack-attack; like nuclear power plants being shut down or hacked into danger zones. Airlines losing planes. That kind of thing.

    I've been pondering just how exactly the developed nations could be whammied into a state of martial law. The current world situation doesn't have enough momentum to actually put thousands of Americans in prison camps. And the forces which drove the Nazis just aren't there. ("We are descendants of superior Aryans from space!" -No joke.) People today, while easily manipulated, haven't been sold that kind of propaganda, but it remains quite clear that a form of undeclared fascism (That is, "freedom", so long as you eat shit, breath shit, think shit, absorb shit media, and work too hard, and don't mind being overseen by Shirow-style O.R.C.S. with machine gunes, in order that you be reduced to the position of Zombie-like Serfdom), this it seems to me, will be the natural conclusion given the forces of greed and corporate evil moving in the world today.

    Choice means that people might not buy your product. Remove choice, while maintaining the illusion of a free society, and bingo! You have the perfect consumer; driven because s/he still believes in the American Dream, but a serf nonetheless, whose task it is to pour wealth into the coffers of the powerful. And to be miserable for those who eat misery. . .

    Anyway, it was interesting; the documentary basically said the following:

    1) Security basically doesn't exist and isn't getting any better. Information systems are open to those who understand how.

    2) The possibility of a huge disaster is ever-present and continues to grow as we become more dependant on I.T.

    One military analyst basically said, with a straight & serious face, that in the event of a huge digital attack, "Declare martial law. Shut everybody down and take control of the situation. That'd be my recommendation."

    Hmmm.

    I don't know how true the above is, but the fact that it was being sold by a respected authority voice, indicates that they're trying to soften people up for just such a turn of events.


    -Fantastic Lad

  • by foofboy (7823) <robert.sherwood@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @11:35AM (#2882439) Homepage
    Seeing a isolated snapshot of the situation doesn't provide alot of information, so I'm a little confused. How is it possible that a DOS alone could drive an ISP out of business. Was it really a healthy business that was destroyed by a DOS, or was this the straw that broke the camel's back. It was mentioned that they did have insurance, but that the insurance wouldn't cover "rebuilding their network". "[A] Firewall brute force attack [resulted in] successful hash and destruction of the firewall" = bad password, no backups. I'm just trying to figure out what kind of DOS can lead to the destruction of an otherwise healthy network and company. The press release paints the picture of a smoking crater, but of course, it's all just data. There's no defense against the various flood attacks, but they should be easiest to trace, and temporarily filtering the flooding IP's should prevent widespread damage. Any ISP admins care to comment.

    Other than saving face, ("Hackers did it" vs. "unchecked spending did it"), is there any practical advantage to claiming that evil hackers destroyed the business. Something just doesn't add up.
  • by netsplit (204917) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @11:43AM (#2882493) Homepage
    As someone who was put in this same situation at the end of '99. I can only say -- if the big boys were concerned -- it would not be a problem. Although its not a trivial problem, dynamic blocking rulesets on bordergate routers who get a rush of ICMP (or other sorts) of traffic to a single target would not be hard to block.

    My small ISP which had been doing okay had been stranded without an uplink after a 150Mbit attack took out sprint links in our part of .ca. After the attack our ISP was quick to disconnect us with no alternatives we closed our doors (noone else in town wanted to touch us).

    After the attack we were quick to contact the NOC of a few schools with unused 'open' blocks who refused to claim responsibility (of the DDoS packets) or fix the problem. About a month and a half later they had FBI knocking on their door after the ebay/yahoo etc attacks.

    The question --

    Do you think DDoS could be a tool for the bigger ISP's and players to squeeze smaller guys (ISP/ASP) out of business? I know that one quite is a stretch.

    What other reasons have kept ``Tier-1'' networks from implementing fixes?
  • DoS my arse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dynamoo (527749) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @12:33PM (#2882808) Homepage
    DoS my arse - Cloud 9 were the ISP for my wife's company, and if their experience is anything to go by it's not suprising they went bust.

    Let's start with the awful customer service, unreliable connections, awful customer service, immoral and possibly illegal business practices, awful customer service and awful customer service.

    Her firm had a problem with the mail relay, it's only a small firm and they'd left the relay open and some spammers had found it. Cloud 9 terminated their connection without notice of any kind, and when finally they found a human being to talk to (they like to do their tech support by fax) they basically tried to blackmail her firm into handing over control of their domain, hosting etc etc to Cloud 9 before they'd reinstate the service. Needless to say, they got dumped very quickly indeed and went to Demon.

    Frankly they're a shitty outfit and they've got their just rewards.

  • by Harik (4023) <Harik@chaos.ao.net> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @01:52PM (#2883248)
    <Sarcastic> I just want to firewall ports around 6667 to keep people from getting in IRC wars </Sarcastic>

    Seriously though, I could care less about the proliferation of DoS/DDoS tools. What bothers me is that the ISPs where this crap is coming from have never been blackholed by the rest of the community. It's not THAT hard to implement a widespread policy of filtering source packets, and that cuts down on a LOT of the methods used by the skript kiddiez.

    The pathetic part about it all is it was already a problem in '95, and source-filtering was strongly recommended then. Soon after, no ip directed broadcast became also strongly recommended. Sadly, I can still get a 250:1 return on a forged ICMP ping (thankfully, their outgoing bandwidth is only a T1)

    The real culprits are the people too lazy or inept to be allowed to run a network.

    --Dan

  • Use Honey pots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AaronW (33736) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @02:09PM (#2883334) Homepage
    One solution to the problem would be to establish randomly distributed honey pot computers which act as if they're infected by one of the various script-kiddie trojans. Log everything that happens to those computers, but do not allow those computers to actually perform DoS attacks (the script-kiddie probably won't know the difference).

    After collecting evidence, the perpetrator should be fined and prosecuted. It would likely cost nothing to the tax payers since it could fund itself from the fines imposed on the perpetrators. If it's just a kid, then hold the parents responsible.

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