Feeds

Last month's root-server attack revisited

Net safe thanks to technology called Anycast

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Last month's attack on at least six of the net's root servers was formidable, but thanks to the implementation of a technology designed to protect the infrastructure, only two were affected, according to a factsheet issued today by ICANN.

The DDoS attack flooded the servers with a stunning amount of data, as much as 1 Gbps at points, according to the oversight group. But damage was relatively contained thanks to new load-balancing technology called Anycast, which was installed on all the servers that came under fire, except for the two that sustained damage.

"Anycast allows a number of servers in different places to act as if they are in the same place," according to the document. "So while there remains 13 locations on the network for root serves, the reality on the ground is that not only are there often dozens at one spot but dozens of servers in other locations that can also deal with requests."

That allows the servers - which translate domain names such as theregister.com into IP numbers such as 72.3.246.59 - to distribute large volumes of data evenly among many machines (a many-hands-make-light-work approach, if you will). Anycast also safeguards against damage that could be caused by natural disasters by geographically dispersing servers.

The attack was, in fact, two forays, one that started at 4AM California time on Feb. 6 and lasted for two-and-a-half hours, and the other, a five-hour assault that started several hours after the first one stopped. That torrent of packets originated from hundreds of zombies, so it's impossible to know where in the world the attackers were located. Educated guesses lead engineers to believe they came from the Asia Pacific, possibly in Korea.

Of the two servers that sustained damage, one was the g-root, which is operated by US Department of Defense and is physically located in Ohio, and the other was the l-root, run by ICANN and based in California. ICANN attributed the damage they sustained to the absence of Anycast.

In addition to those two root servers, three others also are not using the technology. Engineers have held off installing it universally because some worried there could be risks associated with making different servers appear to be coming from the same place. "And so just a few root servers tried the system first, tested it thoroughly and ironed out any bugs before the next set moved over," the report explained. (Note: In previous versions of this story, we misread the report to say the delay was based on root servers using different OSes. This is not the case.)

After last month's episode, it's likely the remaining servers - which in addition to roots G and L also include roots D, E and H - will adopt the technology soon. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.