Feeds

Civil-service union hit by invisible DDoS is back up

Just in time for strike ballot

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Update The Public and Commercial and Services union's website was back up and running in time for its annual conference on Wednesday, following a week-long denial of service assault.

The attack started on Wednesday 11 May and left the website "struggling to cope with average hourly traffic 1,000 times greater than normal," according to the union. Curiously, the attack failed to hit the radar screens of Arbor Networks, the firm that supplies traffic management and DDoS mitigation tools to the vast majority of the world's biggest telcos.

"So far nothing in our monitors for that IP being a victim of a DDoS attack, and no signs of a DDoS attack there, either, in our monitoring," Jose Nazario, senior manager of security research at Arbor told El Reg.

The union, which represents 300,000 members, mostly civil servants, plans to stage a ballot for strike action against cuts to jobs, pensions and pay at its conference. In a statement, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka described the attacks as a "clear attempt to undermine our union at what is a critical time".

Occasionally server or coding problems can present with the same symptoms as a denial of service attack, something that happened in the case of alternative news site Newsnet Scotland only last month.

We spoke to two union officials, who were both adamant that a denial of service attack was the cause of problems that have made the site intermittently difficult to access or slow over the last week. The duo each said the union had worked with web development firm Pixl8 to resolve the problem.

A spokesman at Pixl8 explained traffic and load on the site had surged despite no increase in visitor numbers. He was quite certain that the site had come under DDoS attack. He suggested that Arbor had not seen anything amiss because, while serious locally, the site did not cause problems for upstream ISPs. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.