Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chinese cyber attack hits Optus customers

China launched a successful distributed denial of service attack against one of the telco's financial services customers

Optus declined to reveal which customer was targeted by the attack, but it is understood the firm in question is a multinational company. Last week an undetermined number of Optus's corporate customers -- including AAP and The Australian's publisher News Ltd -- were affected by the outage as internet traffic slowed to a trickle.

It's understood that the attack caused major email outages for companies using US-based spam-filtering services. As the link slowed down, hundreds of thousands of messages were caught in a backlog that delayed email service by hours.

To stop the attack, Optus had to work with an international telecoms carrier to block the point of interconnect on its international transmission link -- which travels from Australia to the US via China. This cyber-attack is just one of many originating from China in recent months. Last month, Google withdrew from the communist state after similar attacks and restrictive freedom of information laws impinged on the company’s ability to conduct business there.

It is thought the Australian government was targeted by cyber-attacks from China on several occasions in 2007.

At the time, China was accused of attempting to hack into highly classified government computer networks in Australia and New Zealand as part of a broader international operation to glean military secrets from Western nations. “It's a serious problem, it's ongoing and it's real," a senior government source said then. (Australian IT)

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