Massive Cyberattack ‘Slows Down The Internet’

Massive Cyberattack ‘Slows Down The Internet’
A row between an anti-spam firm and a web-hosting company leads to the largest DDoS attack ever recorded, with knock-on effects.

A dispute between a web-hosting company and a spam-prevention group has unleashed a cyberattack so concentrated it is reportedly slowing down the internet. Spamhaus offers spam-blocking services by patrolling the web for prolific spammers and publishing server details of the worst offenders. It claims to block 50 billion junk emails every day. Cyberbunker offers web-hosting services. The Dutch company has previously been accused of turning a blind eye when organisations host illegal content on their servers.

The dispute began when Spamhaus allegedly added Cyberbunker to its blacklist. Spamhaus’ internet servers were soon after subject to a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS). A DDoS attack floods its target with vast amounts of meaningless data from multiple sources distributed across the internet until the target’s computers cannot cope and its internet traffic becomes “jammed”. At its height, the strike on Spamhaus is understood to have involved an attack rate of 300 gigabytes per second, making it the largest DDoS attack ever recorded.

The attacks have reportedly had the knock-on effect of slowing down traffic on other parts of the internet.

David Emm, a senior security researcher with Kaspersky Labs, explained how the large amount of data flowing towards Spamhaus was affecting other parts of the internet. “Data flow generated by the attack can affect the performance of the network nodes on the internet it flows through,” he said. “It’s like if someone wanted to flood my letterbox with junk mail it would all have to go through the delivery office and that would have an effect on the delivery of other people’s letters. If the mail is coming from all over the place it will have some impact on the wider delivery.”

Despite the scale of the attack, at UK broadband provider Thinkbroadband claimed the affect on overall internet speeds would be negligible. A spokesperson said: “Thinkbroadband’s latest speed tests in the UK reveals there has been no major slow down at UK Internet providers. Although some parts of the Internet and services may be having problems, it is not a major meltdown or logjam.”

Although it is not clear whether the attack originated from Cyberbunker, Spamhaus has accused it of co-operating with cybercrime organisations from Eastern Europe to orchestrate the attacks. Spamhaus issued a statement saying: “Spamhaus experienced a large-scale DDoS attack over the past weekend and extending into this week. “Although this site and our mail were knocked down for a while, our data systems continued to work normally throughout the attack. Due to the unpredictable nature of DDoS attacks, we can’t provide an estimate of that progress, but we want those systems up as much as you do”.

Internet security firm CloudFlare was asked by Spamhaus to help defend against the attacks. A statement posted on the CloudFlare website warned these types of cyber-strikes are difficult to defend. “These very large attacks are known as Layer 3 attacks,” the company said. “Put simply, if you have a router with a 10Gbps port, and someone sends you 11Gbps of traffic, it doesn’t matter what intelligent software you have to stop the attack because your network link is completely saturated. While we don’t know who was behind this attack, Spamhaus has made plenty of enemies over the years. Spammers aren’t always the most lovable of individuals and Spamhaus has been threatened, sued and DDoSd regularly.”

Cyberbunker claims to host any material, with the exception of those containing child abuse images or terrorism-related content. The company states on its website: “We do not poke around on your servers. Customers are allowed to host any content they like, except child porn and anything related to terrorism. Everything else is fine.

“Cyberbunker has adopted a policy not to mind our clients’ business. Most of our customers desire to stay anonymous. In most cases we have no idea who or where our customers actually are. We do not know and we simply don’t care.”

The company takes its name from the location of its internet servers; a former military bunker located outside the town of Kloetinge in the Netherlands.

Five cybercrime agencies are reportedly looking into the attacks.

YouTube Reaches Billion Viewers A Month

YouTube Reaches Billion Viewers A Month
YouTube Reaches Billion Viewers A Month Target Just five months after Facebook – the online video site announces it has crossed the one billion viewer threshold. They have announced more than one billion people are now visiting its online video site each month.

The milestone marks another step in YouTube’s evolution from a quirky start-up launched in 2005 to one of the most influential forces in today’s media landscape. YouTube crossed the one billion threshold five months after Facebook said its online social network had reached that figure.

The vast audience has given YouTube’s owner, Google Inc, another lucrative channel for selling online adverts beyond its dominant internet search engine.

Google bought YouTube for $1.76bn in 2006 when the video site had an estimated 50 million users worldwide.


Childcare Boost For Working Families

Budget News – Childcare Boost For Working Families
Parents earning less than £150,000 will be given up to £1,200 per child a year, to a maximum of 20% of the total costs. Working families will receive up to £1,200 per child a year under major plans to slash the cost of childcare.More than two million families stand to benefit from the tax-free childcare plans, which have been announced ahead of Wednesday’s Budget.

Eligible families will be given up to £1,200-a-year for each child, up to a maximum of 20% of their total childcare costs. To qualify, both parents – or one parent if they are raising children alone – will have to be in work and each must earn less than £150,000.

But the scheme, which will replace the existing employer supported childcare programme (ESC) will not come into effect until late 2015, after the next general election. Initially the measures will cover children up to five years old, but the level of support will build up “over time” to include children under 12.

Ministers say to start with, 1.3 million families will benefit, compared to 450,000 under ESC, eventually rising to around 2.5 million. The Government is set to invest £1.4bn in the plans – half-funded by abolishing the current childcare vouchers scheme and with the rest of the cash diverted from other departments. Under the current scheme, parents get vouchers worth up to £55-a-week, deducted from their salary before tax is paid.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged in their January mid-term review that they would act to help working families with childcare costs.

The move appears designed to appease many parents furious at losing their child benefit after cuts to what was once a universal handout.

Mr Cameron said: “Too many families find paying for childcare tough and are often stopped from working the hours they’d like. This is a boost direct to the pockets of hard-working families in what will be one of the biggest measures ever introduced to help parents with childcare costs.”

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg added: “The rising cost of childcare is one of the biggest challenges parents face and it means many mums and dads simply can’t afford to work. This not only hurts them financially, but is bad for the economy too.”

Sally Russell, co-founder parenting site, said: “If implemented carefully, it should help a greater number of families with the crippling costs of childcare and keep parents in work.”

Ministers have already announced plans to let childminders look after more children, which they hope will reduce costs and make more nursery places available.

Britain has some of the most expensive childcare costs in the world – with fees rising at more than twice the rate of inflation, according to the Daycare Trust. A report by the trust recently found that a place at the UK’s most expensive nu
rsery cost £42,000 – some 25% more than a place at a top public school such as Charterhouse, which charges £30,574 a year.

Samsung Galaxy Smartphone Unveiled

Samsung Galaxy S4 Eye Tracking Smartphone Unveiled
Samsung has launched a smartphone which allows users to control its 5in (12.5cm) screen using only their eyes. The Galaxy S4 follows on from last year’s S3, a product that sold over 40 million units worldwide. At a lavish, Broadway-themed event in New York, the company also demonstrated the phone’s ability to take two different pictures at once. Analysts widely regard Samsung to be the biggest challenger to Apple’s dominance of mobile products.

The Galaxy S4 will be rolled out globally at the end of April.

Following the launch, shares in Samsung fell 1.7% in early trade in Seoul on Friday amid worries the market for phone upgrades was “flattening out”. The company’s head of mobile communications, JK Shin said 327 mobile operators in 155 countries will carry the handset.

In the UK, Vodafone, Three, Orange, T-Mobile and EE have all announced plans to offer the device on their networks.

Through a series of role-playing scenes, the South Korean firm demonstrated the phone’s key features. Much was made of the device’s ability to be controlled without touching it. Using “Smart pause”, the user can pause a video by looking away from the screen.  Additionally, the “Smart Scroll” software analyses the user’s eyes and wrist to scroll through emails and other content.

“The debut of nifty eye motion-sensitive controls to allow users to pause video and scroll through pages using eye movements alone is smart,” said telecoms expert Ernest Doku from For commuters crammed in trains – or just those who love a bit of futuristic tech that makes their lives easier – this novel feature will really help the Galaxy S4 to stand out.”

However, Charles Golvin from Forrester Research worried the swathes of new features may alienate some customers. The larger question is how much of this stuff can people actually use he told the BBC. “There’s no question that there’s a lot of powerful technology and innovative features – but whether people will care about them or use them I’m not sure. Including an image of yourself in a picture that you’re taking for someone else – yes, I think that’s a bit gimmicky.  But on the video side, for a live chat where it’s compositing you and your image to show both you and what you’re seeing – that’s not a gimmick.”

In another scene, depicting a backpacker in Shanghai, the phone was shown to translate English text into Chinese speech – before translating Chinese speech back into English text.

The dual camera feature makes use of the device’s front and rear cameras simultaneously, blending the pictures together to make sure the picture taker is not “left out”. The rear has a 13 megapixel camera, while the user-facing camera captures pictures at 2 megapixels.

The phone weighs 130g, and is 7.9mm thick – making it slightly lighter and thinner than the S3. The device uses Samsung’s HD AMOLED technology, giving the S4’s screen – which is marginally bigger than the S3’s – a resolution of 441 pixels-per-inch.

As well as the “touchless” technology, the company also introduced the Samsung Hub – a multimedia storage facility that can be shared across multiple Samsung devices.

Attention, Interest, Desire & Action

Grabbing the Prospects Attention
If you are not new to marketing, you have surely heard about the AIDA formula.

AIDA is an acronym for Attention – Interest – Desire – Action;
These four mental steps are necessary for you to inspire in your prospect if you are selling her your product or service.

Attention – attract your potential customer’s attention;
Interest – raise customers’ interest by focusing on advantages and benefits;
Desire – convince customers that they want and desire your product and that it will satisfy their needs;
Action – lead customers toward your targeted action: ordering, purchasing, or subscribing.

This formula may be used to convert your virtual website visitors into real local and loyal buyers so its well worth spending some time to make sure your website meets these requirments.

Internet Marketing by Direct Submit

Webcoding Flaw Allows Data Dump on Computers

Webcoding Flaw Allows Data Dump on Computers
Gigabytes of junk data could be dumped onto PCs via a loophole in web code, a developer has found. The loophole exploits a feature of HTML 5 which defines how websites are made and what they can do. Developer Feross Aboukhadijeh found the bug and set up a demo page that fills visitors’ hard drives with pictures of cartoon cats. In one demo, Mr Aboukhadijeh managed to dump one gigabyte of data every 16 seconds onto a vulnerable Macbook.

Most major browsers, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari, were found to be vulnerable to the bug, said Mr Aboukhadijeh.

While most websites are currently built using version 4 of the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), that code is gradually being superseded by the newer version 5.

One big change brought in with HTML 5 lets websites store more data locally on visitors’ PCs. Safeguards built into the “local storage” specification should limit how much data can be stored. Different browsers allow different limits but all allow at least 2.5 megabytes to be stored.

However, Mr Aboukhadijeh found a way round this cap by creating lots of temporary websites linked to the one a person actually visited. He found that each one of these associated sites was allowed to store up to the limit of data because browser makers had not written code to stop this happening. By endlessly creating new, linked websites the bug can be used to siphon huge amounts of data onto target PCs. Only Mozilla’s Firefox capped storage at 5MB and was not vulnerable, he found.

“Cleverly coded websites have effectively unlimited storage space on visitor’s computers,” wrote Mr Aboukhadijeh in a blogpost about the bug.

Code to exploit the bug has been released by Mr Aboukhadijeh and he set up a website, called Filldisk that, on vulnerable PCs, dumps lots of images of cats on to the hard drive. So far, no malicious use of the exploits has been observed. In a bid to solve the problem, bug reports about the exploit have been filed with major browser makers.

Fitz Architects Architectural Services

Fitz Architects Architectural Services
Direct Submit are pleased to announce yet another new client. Fitz Architects are a design-led North East based architectural practice whose creative instinct is balanced by a down-to-earth approach to architectural design, always looking to satisfy economic, social, aesthetic and environmental needs within any project.

As local SEO continues to develop and become an ever more important source of marketing to local businesses, more companies the ever are looking to embrace the benefits and opportunities made available by the ever increasing search Internet. If you want to find out more about how Direct Submit can help your business access the business opportunities offered by the Internet, then contact us now and see how much we can do to help you make more of the Internet.