Hackers Bring Down D.C Government Websites

Hackers launched a DoS denial of service attack on D.C. government websites today, clogging the system with a flurry of requests so that it operates extremely slow or is impossible to load.

“The District government has detected an attempted intrusion into it’s technology infrastructure system,” the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said in an email to specified recipients around noon.

A DDOS or Distributed Denial of Service is one attack that is very difficult to thwart. Often a website can be brought down by attackers using many computers to send a synchronized flurry of requests toward specific ip addresses. “These attacks are not very difficult to construct and rely more on having a bevy of attacking machines under control at once, often Botnets are used to carry out these Denial of Service attacks.” Often, the only defense against these attacks is to simply throw more bandwidth at the problem. Networks that cannot handle the excessive traffic often just have to wait out the attack.

Homeland Security warned “Customers may experience intermittent difficulties in accessing the District’s web site as we attempt to address the issue. We are aggressively working to resolve this matter.”

In January the group launched a similar attack against the UFC for its support of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act that was debated by Congress earlier this year. DDoS attacks have been launched by a variety of groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec against federal government websites and servers, including the FBI and CIA.