Feeds

Civil-service union hit by invisible DDoS is back up

Just in time for strike ballot

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.