In one of the first incidents of its kind in the UK, Shetland-based Internet service provider Zetnet has been hit by a denial of service attack that halted Internet access to its subscribers for over seven hours.
Although the phenomenon is becoming increasingly common in the US, hackers in the UK have so far been slow to follow the American trend. However, it was revealed that an argument between one of Zetnet?s customers, and the user of another system on IRC on Saturday night, led to an unidentified hacker bringing down the whole of Zetnet in revenge - a case of Road Rage on the information superhighway.
According to Zetnet, the outage was caused when continuous streams of very large data packets were sent to one of the ISP?s dial-up lines. Up to 1,500KB - three times Zetnet?s current bandwidth - was sent at a time, resulting in 'normal' traffic being bullied out of the way. Typically, hackers will use a high bandwidth site to send large packet pings to the dial-up customer, thus denying them of service.
Tim Cole, technical director at Zetnet, said: ?This was not an outage. The service was severely impaired.? He added that the culprit had been traced back to the London University Computer Centre but could not say whether he/she was associated with the University. ?We expect that criminal charges will be brought at some stage in the future but we cannot say against whom at present,? he commented.
Cole confirmed that a senior BTNet technician had been forced out of bed at 4am and that BTNet was involved in the investigation.
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