WebFarm seeks apology from Ihug for network outage

A New Plymouth ISP wants an apology from The Internet Group (Ihug) for a network outage last month, but Ihug says the problem wasn't its fault. WebFarm blames Ihug for its network becoming inaccessible, because of action Ihug took following a network attack. But Ihug director Nick Wood doesn't believe the 16-hour outage was its fault. He says Ihug was being attacked by someone he claims was on the WebFarm network.

A New Plymouth ISP wants an apology from The Internet Group (Ihug) for a network outage last month, but Ihug says the problem wasn’t its fault.

WebFarm blames Ihug for its network becoming inaccessible, because of action Ihug took following a network attack. But Ihug director Nick Wood doesn’t believe the 16-hour outage was its fault. He says Ihug was being attacked by someone he claims was on the WebFarm network. “We blocked their network on our router and Waikato’s router, for some reason, at NZIX learned the route.”

He says Ihug advertised its static route to that router, and it shouldn’t have been passed on, but unbeknown to everyone, it was. The Waikato router published that route on its network for 16 hours, which suspended access to the WebFarm network. “You’re routing a network to nowhere.”

WebFarm technical manager Craig St George sent a letter to customers saying Ihug effectively “hijacked” traffic to a number of sites that WebFarm hosts. While he now says he accepts the incident wasn’t deliberate on the part of Ihug, he wants Ihug to ensure that it has a procedure in place to notify him if it happens again.

“And we basically want an apology that we could give to our clients.”

St George says he has seen no proof that there was an attack originating from the WebFarm network, but adds that if there was, Ihug should have alerted WebFarm to the fact, and to what action it was taking. “No one told us there was anything wrong.”

He says it didn’t realise there was a problem until clients started complaining. He says the static route placed on Ihug’s router shouldn’t have been told to any other router.

But Wood says he’s not sure why it happened. He says he will be responding to WebFarm, saying Ihug never intended to upset his network.

Wood says it was something that had a once in a million chance of happening. “There’s no logical explanation for it. There’s no way of getting past the fact that we know it happened but we don’t know why. A router did something you wouldn’t normally expect it to do and you probably wouldn’t expect it to happen again in the future.”

He says Ihug is unhappy that it occurred but added that it did not go out to actively block the network nationwide.“

Wood says the attack involved someone trying to cause problems by sending information to its name server to stop it from working. “If no-one can resolve names, no-one can go anywhere.”

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