A huge distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which may have reached as high as 400Gbps, targeted networks in both Europe and the US on Monday night and into Tuesday morning.
Security firm CloudFlare revealed on Twitter that it was fighting off the attack in a series of messages.
Mitigating a large attack hitting much of the EU— CloudFlareStatus (@CloudFlareSys) February 10, 2014
Continuing to work through attack, also affecting some of the US— CloudFlareStatus (@CloudFlareSys) February 10, 2014
CloudFlare co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince added on his own Twitter account that the attack was bigger than one seen last year that hit anti-spam group Spamhaus.
Very big NTP reflection attack hitting us right now. Appears to be bigger than the #Spamhaus attack from last year. Mitigating.— Matthew Prince (@eastdakota) February 10, 2014
NTP stands for Network Time Protocol, and is an internet protocol used to synchronise the clocks of computers over a network. CloudFlare warned that NTP could potentially be used to launch huge DDoS attacks in a blog post earlier this year.
"The simple NTP protocol is prone to amplification attacks because it will reply to a packet with a spoofed source IP address and because at least one of its built-in commands will send a long reply to a short request. That makes it ideal as a DDoS tool," CloudFlare researcher John Graham-Cumming wrote.
As such, Prince added on Twitter that the nature of the attack was worrying and could be the “start of ugly things to come”.
— Matthew Prince (@eastdakota) February 11, 2014
Prince said he did not have permission to reveal who the attack was aimed at.
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