Despite NIPC alert, Internet attacks a no-show

Despite NIPC alert, Internet attacks a no-show

Large-scale cyberattacks against U.S. Internet targets failed to materialize Tuesday, after a warning to service providers from the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center.

'From what we've seen in reports today, nothing is out of the ordinary,' said Marty Lindner, incident handling team leader at the CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University. But, 'the NIPC report is very vague, and without knowing what the attack is, it is hard to say if it is happening or not.'

NIPC reported yesterday that it received 'credible, but nonspecific information that wide-scale hacker attacks against U.S. Web sites and Internet service providers are being planned for later tonight, possibly emanating from Western Europe.'

News reports citing an unidentified White House source claimed there had been unusual increases in traffic to some East Coast ISPs early Tuesday, followed by a wave of heavy traffic to some West Coast providers. But Internet observers have been unable to corroborate this.

'I feel that if something serious was going on, we would know about it,' said Lindner at CERT-CC, which relies on voluntarily reported information about incidents.

Internet Security Systems Inc. of Atlanta set its alert level at 2'on a scale of four'in the wake of the NIPC alert, but reported no unusual activity. The SANS Institute of Bethesda, Md., also reported no signs of an attack.

Keynote Systems Inc. of San Mateo, Calif., which analyzes Internet performance, reported only one backbone connection where latency had reached the critical level as of Tuesday afternoon. Spokesman Jason Pfannenstiel said that was 'nothing to make any fuss about.' Internet health elsewhere in the world was listed as good to stable.

Monday's alert was only the third such report issued by NIPC this year. The first was a warning of potential wide-spread outages from vulnerabilities found in the Simple Network Management Protocol in February, and the second was a warning about the Klez.h mass mailing worm.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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