Anti-spam Spamhaus up again after 75Gbps Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

The website of non-profit spam fighter Spamhaus is online again after a huge DDoS attack knocked it offline on Sunday, but attackers are continue to target another anti-spam sites that help ISPs combat spam from infected IP addresses.

Spamhaus, which provides several anti-spam DNS-based blocklists and maintains the “register of known spam operations”, came under a huge DDoS attack on Sunday, which knocked its web server and mail server offline until Wednesday.

Spamhaus spokesperson Luc Rossini on Monday denied a report that Anonymous was behind the attack and pointed to a “Russian criminal malware gang” as the source.

On Tuesday Spamhaus sought cover from the attack with DDoS protection provider CloudFlare, which today reported the attack on Spamhaus reached a peak of about 75 gigabits per second.

The attackers used a cocktail of DDoS attack methods, but the primary one that helped generate that volume of traffic was a “reflection attack”, according to Matthew Prince, CloudFlare’s CEO.

“The basic technique of a DNS reflection attack is to send a request for a large DNS zone file with the source IP address spoofed to be the intended victim to a large number of open DNS resolvers,” Prince explained, noting that 30,000 open DNS resolvers were recorded in the attack, which used spoofed IP addresses CloudFlare had issued to Spamhaus.

“The resolvers then respond to the request, sending the large DNS zone answer to the intended victim. The attackers’ requests themselves are only a fraction of the size of the responses, meaning the attacker can effectively amplify their attack to many times the size of the bandwidth resources they themselves control.”


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