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Cyber-raid hobbles web users
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 02:40:14 -0500 (CDT)



Thousands of internet users were disrupted yesterday after hackers
forced Telecom to sever its internet link with the outside world.

It is understood that Telecom cut the link to its United States-based
internet supplier, AboveNet, about 12.30 pm.

Full services had been restored by 3 pm.

During that time 310,000 users of Telecom's Xtra service, as well as
customers of several other internet providers (ISPs), were unable to
access overseas web pages.

The denial-of-service attack - which bombards internet servers with
spurious requests for information - was similar to those that shut
down popular United States websites such as Yahoo and Amazon.com this

The Telecom attack was apparently launched by American hackers.

Anand Lal, network administrator at internet provider ihug, said the
attack had affected Xtra and a few small ISPs.

"We are not affected, but we monitor the internet through simple
connectivity tests," he said.

"I'm not aware of the extent of their problems, but parts of Xtra are

Xtra marketing manager Chris Thompson described the attack as
reasonably severe, but he refused to give details, claiming this
information would help the hackers.

Most customers on the network would have been affected during the
worst of the attacks, he said.

Some would not have noticed anything, but they may have experienced
slight delays. Others would have lost connectivity.

But Shane Bates, chief executive officer of Auckland web security
company SecureNet, said this was a major attack on Telecom.

Switching off the United States internet feed was a panic measure that
had compromised customers who depended on the web, he said.

"This is the sort of thing Telecom should be able to handle in 30
seconds by switching to an alternative feed.

"It shows a complete lack of planning for what was a relatively
straightforward occurrence."

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