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'Million-strong' zombie army devours Raspberry Pi's crunchy base

Brit charity joins banks, gambling dens targeted by DDoS barons

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The charity behind the tiny Brit computer Raspberry Pi apparently came under fire from a million-strong botnet army last night. Zombie machines were instructed by unknown assailants to launch a massive denial-of-service attack on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's website.

The organisation warned the world that its online home was being bombarded by network traffic on Tuesday evening.

"We're being DDoS'd at the moment - very sorry if you can't see the website. If it goes on, we'll try to get some more capacity in tomorrow," wrote a tweeter for the foundation before adding: "For those interested, this one's quite hardcore: we're seeing a SYN flood from a botnet that seems to have about a million nodes."

At the time of writing on Wednesday afternoon the raspberrypi.org website loaded quickly and appeared to be functioning normally. Nonetheless Tuesday's assault underlines the fact that industrial-strength distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are no longer a problem for just banks, online gambling dens, e-commerce firms and the like.

"It’s sad to see the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity with a good cause at its heart, has been the focus of a vicious attack. This stunt goes to highlight the unfortunate fact that any organisation, of any size and nature, is vulnerable," said Jeremy Nicholls, EMEA channel director at DDoS mitigation specialists Arbor Networks.

"The explosion of inexpensive and readily-accessible attack tools is enabling almost anybody to carry out DDoS attacks."

Nicholls said that although the motives for the attack against RaspberryPi.org are unclear, a recent survey by Arbor Networks of its telco and ISP customers revealed that many of them regard ideological hackitivism as the most common motivation behind DDoS attacks: 33 per cent reported political and ideological disputes for the reasoning behind the web clobbering. The next two most common motivating factors were knackering online gaming and vandalism, ahead of profit-motivated cybercrime. ®

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