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The reported Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on internet spam-fighting group Spamhaus highlights the the fragility of the internet, according to Australia’s Internet Industry Association.

As we reported earlier today, a DDoS attack has slowed down the internet and threatened many of the core services that World Wide Web is built on, and Australia's peak internet group is callin for vigilance in protecting core server infrastructure from these types of attacks.

DDoS attacks are used to target certain Internet websites and servers with huge volumes of traffic, which can ultimately bring those servers and the internet traffic flowing through them to a grinding halt.

John Ellis, Enterprise Security Director for APJ, representing IIA Member, Akamai Technologies, said "The internet is an inter-network of separately managed networks, that are connected together through a series of hierarchal relationships between network provider."

"Those who attacked Spamhaus were smart in understanding these relationships and after initial efforts to disrupt the availability of the Spamhaus website failed, targeted the upstream network providers. These attacks were designed to 'suffocate' where many of the networks meet at what are known as Internet Exchanges (IXs).

"By targeting these internet exchanges, the Spamhaus attackers where able to create significant amount of congestion at key points of the Internet. This resulted in significant portions, and users of the internet experiencing performance issues.

"Whilst the Internet Exchanges were able to reroute around these congestion points, the attack further highlighted additional vulnerabilities in design and implementations of networks on the internet."

At this stage there have been no reports of this attack having a direct impact on Australian Internet user devices, however Patrick Gilmore of Akamai Technologies said the attack was so large that online bystanders had been hit as well.

Home users could experience slower internet or be subjected to unwanted emails.

"This not only highlights the need for service providers to be vigilant in relation to their core Internet server security but also the importance of initiatives such as the Internet Industry Association code, which provides a mechanism for ISPs to alert their customers should such attacks result in the dissemination of malicious software that may affect an end-user's device", said Chief Executive of the IIA Peter Lee.

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David Swan

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David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the tender age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun. You can email him at david.swan@itwire.com or follow him at twitter.com/mrdavidswan

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