A Dutch web-hosting company caused disruption and the global slowdown of the internet, according to a not-for-profit anti-spam organization.
The interruptions came after Spamhaus, a spam-fighting group based in Geneva, temporarily added the Dutch firm, CyberBunker, to a blacklist that is used by e-mail providers to weed out spam.
Cyberbunker is housed in a five-story former NATO bunker and famously offers its services to any website “except child porn and anything related to terrorism". As such it has often been linked to behaviour that anti-spam blacklist compilers have condemend.
It retaliated with a huge 'denial of service attack'. These work by trying to make a network unavailable to its intended users,overloading a server with coordinated requests to access it. At one point, 300 billion bits per second were being sent by a network of computers, making this the biggest attack ever.
The attack was particularly potent because it exploited the 'domain name system', which acts like the telephone directory of the internet and are used every time a web address is entered into a computer.