Hackers slow web performance by 27%greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Hackers slowed Web performance 27 percent Saturday, 12 February 2000 19:37 (ET)
Hackers slowed Web performance 27 percent By HIL ANDERSON
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The denial-of-service hacker raids that targeted major e-commerce retailers also caused the entire Internet to slow down by almost 27 percent at the height of the attacks, according to a Silicon Valley company that monitors the performance of the Web.
Keynote, a San Mateo, Calif. firm that monitors the performance of business Web sites across the country, said the speed of Web access on Monday and Tuesday was slightly slower -- less than 8 percent slower than the same days the week before -- and then plummeted by 26.8 percent during business hours on Wednesday.
"Keynote's data verifies that performance deterioration was widespread for users around the Internet and affected many Web sites that were not direct targets of the attacks," Keynote said in its report, which was issued Saturday. The company said the slower speeds were the result of both the flood of information packets aimed at the target Web sites, and a surge of Web surfing by baffled Internet users trying to find out what was going on.
In terms of actual time spent waiting for a business home page to respond, Keynote said the average time needed for a Web site to perform the task was 5.98 seconds on Monday, Feb. 7 compared to 5.66 seconds on Monday Jan. 31; the time on Tuesday, Feb. 8 was 5.96 seconds compared to 5.53 seconds on Feb. 1; the Wednesday, Feb 9 time was 6.67 seconds, or 26.8 percent slower than the 5.26-second average on Feb. 2. On Thursday, the day after the denial-of-service attacks, Internet speed picked up and was running at 4.86 seconds, 2.2 percent faster than the 4.97 seconds on the previous week's Thursday.
Meanwhile, there was no indication Saturday that the FBI's search for the person or people behind the spectacularly sneaky hacking offensive had been identified, although there seemed to be a distinct whiff of a trail developing. Officials at Stanford University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara said Friday that computers belonging to their schools had apparently been remotely broken into by hackers who planted the electronic tools that create the stream of information packets that make up a denial-of-service attack. There were media reports Saturday that a third California school had found signs that the hackers had gotten into its system as well.
The computer whiz who claims to have created the denial-of-service program told the Los Angeles Times that he was not responsible for this week's incidents. The 20-year-old German known as "Mixter" told the Times in an e-mail interview published Saturday that it is not illegal to write such a program, and that he was troubled that they had been put to such devastating use.
"The fact that I authored these tools does in no way condone their active use," Mixter wrote. "It seems that the attackers are pretty clueless people who misuse powerful resources...just because they can." The attack apparently did no permanent damage to either the Internet or the Web sites that were targeted, but the incidents seemed to put a scare into many companies. The FBI said Friday that scores of companies were downloading software provided by the FBI to make sure the denial-of-service tools weren't planted on their Web sites.
President Clinton will host a Web security summit in Washington next Tuesday that will feature representatives of the high-tech industry as well as Attorney General Janet Reno and national security adviser Sandy Berger.
There was also news Saturday of a denial-of-service attack against Proflowers.com, a San Diego Internet florist that may not be quite as notable as eBay or Amazon.com, but nevertheless fills a major need this time of year as Valentine's Day approaches. Proflowers.com said in a release that its site was disabled for 90 minutes on Friday afternoon by "four billion ping packets hitting the system."
"Despite the fact that the hackers targeted us during one of our busiest times of the year, we have been able to proceed with business as usual. We directed all traffic to Flowerfarm.com, a Proflowers.com company, and took orders via phone while the site was down. We are experiencing a record-breaking Valentine's Day season," said company CEO Bill Strauss.
Copyright 2000 by United Press International.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), February 12, 2000