Microsoft has stepped up its research into denial-of-service attacks after the emergence of a new tool that threatens Windows servers.
The software giant has awarded the University of California and the University of Virginia $125,000 and $225,000 respectively to develop methods to prevent distributed denial-of-service (Ddos) attacks.
The attacks jam web servers by bombarding them with rogue data packets from multiple unsuspecting hosts. Previously, only Unix systems were able to be used in the attacks, but a new version of the 'Trinoo' attack tool for Windows emerged last week.
Major websites including Yahoo, eBay and Amazon, were brought to a standstill by Ddos attacks during the first two weeks of February.
The FBI is searching for the attack originator, but finding them is difficult because the packets carry false identities.
Microsoft said that the proliferation of new tools and techniques for Ddos attacks meant that there would be more of these types of attack in the near future.
Clive McCafferty, managing director of security consultancy CenturyCom, said: "It's a wonderful idea - any research into security is a good thing and I'll be fascinated to see what they come up with. The ability to track individual targets - which is what is needed in these attacks - must exist already in the military."
He added: "However, we need to take a step back. When you get an attack of this type, more than one system at a time is affected and the problem is not denial of service but the management of a company's security architecture."
The FBI is also currently consulting security industry experts to develop ways of detecting and preventing these types of attacks.
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