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High profile DDoS attack originates from China

The recent high profile denial of service attack (DDoS) that hit the WordPress.com blog publishing platform last week has now been shown to have originated from China, according to the sites founder.

DDoS attacks are particularly nasty, as they simultaneously attack a web site with data so it becomes overwhelmed. Quite often the computers involved in these attacks are infected machines with users unaware that their machines are compromised.

This particular attack on WordPress.com was bad enough to cause issues for the company data centers in Dallas, Chicago and San Antonio. Today however everything is back on track and running well.

WordPress said that the attacks have been politically motivated and aimed at an unnamed Chinese language blog. They changed their view on this however over the weekend and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg spoke to IDG News saying “We don’t think it’s politically motivated anymore, however the attacks did originate in China.” He has offered no more information on the source of the attacks as they are probably investigating.

The attacks directed many gigabits of data per second and tens of million of packets of data per second to bring down the WordPress services. Mullenweg said that the attacks were the largest and ‘most sustained’ in their history.

China seem to always come to the fore when major DDoS attacks are mentioned. They have been the country of origin for several major cyberattacks in recent years. McAfee said that Chinese hackers for instance launched attacks to steal gigabytes of data from foreign energy companies. Google has also been the victim of an attack from sources alleged to have been in China.

The problem with a well executed DDoS attack is that it can be hard to find out the true source. Computers launching the attacks could be in a different country to the originating point. Users who run unprotected machines or who fail to keep their operating systems updated with the latest security patches and bug fixes are at high risk of malware infection, and becoming a link in the DDoS chain.

A China foreign ministry spokesman said “The allegation that China supports hacking is groundless”.

KitGuru says: DDoS attacks can cost a company millions of dollars with interupted services

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