Massive hacker attack against Dispatch International

Dispatch International 30 November 2012
By Maria Celander

Dispatch International is under attack. During the last week we have been bombarded by attempts to overload the web site, rendering it inaccessible to our readers.

”This is no ordinary Denial of Service attack, that anybody can carry out. The people responsible know what they’re doing and have reasonably high skills,” says Dispatch International’s head of internet security.

A number of experts on IT security have gone through the logs from the 24 hour period when the attack was at its most intense, around November 22. And they draw several conclusions, of which the most interesting is that computers belonging to the newspapers Sydsvenskan, Värnamo Nyheter and Norrköpings Tidningar, the radio production company Tredje Statsmakten Media AB and Swedish state television SVT took part in the attack.

“Most of the computers used in the attack have random, dynamic ip-addresses. So, these media houses certainly stand out,” says one of the security experts.

Even if there is no way to be sure that persons from these companies have participated actively in the attack, it could be due to a virus or so-called cross site scripting, the experts believe that is the most likely scenario.

The alternative is that these major corporations have been hacked, and that would mean this is a very high profile attack. We can’t rule it out, but it is unlikely. An attack at that level could have wreaked complete havoc with the system, and that didn’t happen this time.

By the skin of their teeth, Dispatch International’s security team managed to keep the web page online during most of the attack, but the publication of last week’s web paper was severely delayed. If one were to calculate how much money an attack like this is worth in overtime and damage to the paper’s reputation, one would end up with a six figure amount. Dispatch International has of course reported the attack to the police, who are now investigating suspicions of hacking

This is an article from Dispatch International, republished with permission.
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Editors' note:
This article is mirrored from Dispatch International, which is currently suffering an extraordinarily heavy denial of service attack. This criminal behaviour has been reported to the police for investigation, and the log files indicate that the Swedish mainstream media is directly implicated. In case you run a blog or other web site which could also mirror this article, please do so.

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