New weapons deployed in cyberwar

A denial of service (DOS) attack on ISP Asia Online and its customers is the start of a new trend in cyber-attacks, says Auckland network specialist Kaon Technologies.

A denial of service (DOS) attack on ISP Asia Online and its customers is the start of a new trend in cyber-attacks, says Auckland network specialist Kaon Technologies.

Kaon head Tony Krzyzewski says the spate of attacks is being matched by an increase in the number of security alerts his company is receiving.

"Usually I get one or two a month, if that," Krzyzewski says. "This is the first time I’ve seen three major bulletins in a week.”

The activity, which is popularly believed to be spill-over from tensions between the US and China, is coming in the form of new techniques being applied to old tricks, like DoS.

“The one that popped up on Sunday night [May 6] was a variant of an old attack; basically, bouncing off Solaris systems and using that to attack Microsoft systems.”

“It’s one of the newer techniques. They’d take over a Solaris machine and launch the Microsoft attack on that. At the same time there’s been a new security hole in IIS 5 [Internet Information Services] documented by Microsoft, so there’s a lot going on at the moment.”

Krzyzewski believes Asia Online probably got caught up in the battle between US and Chinese hackers simply because of its name.

“Some of these guys don’t look up from their keyboards very often; they don’t know as much about the world as they do about computers and they may have simply seen Asia and thought that meant China.”

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