[ISN] Hacker Blocks Internet Alaska Access

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Tue Aug 25 1998 - 15:09:11 PDT

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    From: 7Pillars Partners <partnersat_private>
    Hacker Blocks Internet Alaska Access
    Filed at 11:22 a.m. EDT
    By The Associated Press
    ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A hacker made a high-tech attack on an estimated 2,000
    people who wanted to use Internet Alaska over the weekend. 
    For two hours Sunday night, customers of Anchorage-based Internet Alaska
    were blocked from or had only limited access to the Internet because of a
    flood of traffic generated by an irate Outsider. 
    The Anchorage-based company is the largest provider of Internet service in
    the state, with about 28,000 customers. Matt Mannhardt, the company's vice
    president, said Sunday evenings are among its busiest times. 
    Internet Alaska is not yet sure what happened to spark the episode of
    cyber sabotage. But company officials think the problem stems from an
    exchange a customer had with someone outside Alaska in a real-time
    interactive forum. 
    They believe the customer may have said something that angered the
    perpetrator, who then retaliated by launching what is called a ``smurf
    ``It's not uncommon for people to end up upsetting one another,'' said
    Mannhardt, who didn't know in which forum the incident occurred. 
    In launching the attack, the perpetrator runs a program that hails
    hundreds of computers with a test message requesting a response -- which
    goes to the address of the victim. 
    As a result, the computers' responses not only flood the recipient's
    system but also clog the lines that carry traffic from other customers. 
    It's called a smurf attack because that is the name given by the person
    who wrote the program, said Mannhardt, a reflection of ``the mentality of
    and the culture of the people that were writing up these types of
    Once Internet Alaska realized what was going on, it asked the larger
    companies that help connect its customers to the Internet to put up
    ``filters,'' which dumped all the bad information. 
    That helped stop the flood, Mannhardt said. A few problems recurred early
    Monday, when one company removed the filter too soon, but the system seems
    to be working fine now, he told the Anchorage Daily News. 
    It's frustrating because it's nearly impossible to determine who launched
    the attack, Mannhardt said. But the company has asked the businesses whose
    computers were involved to install security features that prevent them
    from being used as unwitting accomplices. 
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