It is being widely reported that global internet services are suffering in the fallout from a row between a spam-fighting group and a hosting firm, in the biggest cyber attack in history.
Despite numerous mainstream news sources publishing the story, many reputable technology websites are sceptical. One of them – Gizmodo – called it “a lie”. The staff at Venture Beat were a little more conservative saying the “biggest ever Internet attack is indeed huge, but it isn’t global”.
The original story was that Spamhaus, a Geneva and London based group which weeds out unsolicited “spam” messages for email providers, was targeted by a Dutch web host in retaliation for being blacklisted.
Cyberbunker, which says it will host anything with the exception of child pornography or terrorism-related material, has accused Spamhaus of abusing its position, claiming it should not be allowed to decide what goes onto the internet.
The upshot is that Spamhaus has been attacked with floods of messages from multiple systems for which it blames Cyberbunker.
Supposedly the row is causing a global internet slowdown and experts are concerned the attacks could soon escalate and start to affect banking and email systems.
However, some specialist sites used the Internet Traffic Report to support their claims that the effect had been neither global nor particularly severe. Venture Beat suggested the only places really affected were the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, where the original dispute occured. Gizmodo even suggested that the scope and risk had been exaggerated by some companies who would profit from the general public being worried about a cyber attack.
Exaggerated or not, the attack was still the largest of its type ever seen and is currently been investigated by five national cyber-police forces.