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Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Details on the Cyberattack that Hit Ron Paul's Campaign Website August 20th

It looks like the attack that hit Ron Paul's campaign website during the final hours of his successful "money bomb" fundraiser August 20th (which is usually when supporters make a last push and hourly donations tend to get a boost), was a DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attack.

Peter Tariche of the RevoluTimes reports:

'It is currently unknown which individuals or organization targeted the site.

Around 11pm ET, the Ron Paul Facebook page was updated with the message, “The website is under cyber attack. Our team is working to fix this as we speak. So sorry to all who have tried to make donations and could not. We’ll have more info ASAP.”

The attack was a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which floods the website with more traffic than the servers can handle, causing a crash. The attack targeted port 80 (HTTP). Donations to the website are run through HTTPS or port 443 – meaning people were still able to donate if they had the secure donate link.'

According to Wikipedia:

"A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person, or multiple people to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely...

One common method of attack involves saturating the target machine with external communications requests, such that it cannot respond to legitimate traffic, or responds so slowly as to be rendered effectively unavailable. In general terms, DoS attacks are implemented by either forcing the targeted computer(s) to reset, or consuming its resources so that it can no longer provide its intended service or obstructing the communication media between the intended users and the victim so that they can no longer communicate adequately."

If that's still too full of tech-jargon to make sense, do pose any questions you have in the comment thread and I'm sure one of THL's fine readers will be glad to break it down with an analogy or a more concise explanation.

As THL reader, Michael Kelly commented yesterday:

"This is ridiculous. I hope to see this in the headlines tomorrow. A cyber attack on a congressman is a very serious crime and it needs to be dealt with."

He is very correct!

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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