Security firm raises alarm on new Internet attacks

Security firm VeriSign has released a warning about a new variety of unusually powerful Internet attacks that overwhelm popular Web sites and disrupt e-mails by exploiting the computers that help manage global Internet traffic, an Associated Press report said.


First detected late last year, the new attacks directed such massive amounts of spurious data against victim computers that even flagship technology companies could not cope, the report said.


Experts traced at least 1,500 attacks that briefly shut down commercial Web sites, large Internet service providers and leading Internet infrastructure companies for weeks, the report said. The attacks were so targeted that most Internet users did not notice widespread effects.


The report quoted Ken Silva, chief security officer for VeriSign, as saying that the attacks were comparable to the damage caused in October 2002 when nine of the 13 computer "root" servers that managed global Internet traffic were crippled by a powerful electronic attack.


While VeriSign operated two of the 13 root server computers, its machines were unaffected, the report said.