Feeds

Last month's root-server attack revisited

Net safe thanks to technology called Anycast

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?