The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Flare Up

South Korean web sites hit today; blogger site WordPress attacked yesterday and again today

2 min read
Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Flare Up

There have been news reports coming in throughout the day about two distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks being launched, one against South Korea organizations and the other against the blog hosting-site WordPress.com.

According to The Korean Herald, 40 government and commercial web sites in South Korea including some belonging to the US military were hit today by a denial of service attack beginning about 1000 local time. The Herald said that the sites hit included the Presidential Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Defense Ministry, Unification Ministry, the National Assembly, the U.S. Forces in Korea, the Korea Communications Commission, commercial banks including Kookmin, Woori and Shinhan, and the two biggest Internet portals, Naver and Daum.

No damage was reported, and the attack was said to be smaller than the one launched in 2009, The Korean Herald stated.

The Korea Times later reported that additional DDoS attacks were expected at 1800 local time.

Then yesterday and again today, the blog hosting-site WordPress.com was targeted by two different types of distributed denial of service attacks. A message posted on its performance site yesterday morning at 0954 read:

"WordPress.com is currently being targeted by a extremely large Distributed Denial of Service attack which is affecting connectivity in some cases.  The size of the attack is multiple Gigabits per second and tens of millions of packets per second....We are working to mitigate the attack, but because of the extreme size, it is proving rather difficult."

WordPress said it was able to get service back to normal by 1140.

However, WordPress got hit again early today, but reported again at its performance site that it was able to get back to normal fairly quickly:

"Unfortunately, the DDoS attack from yesterday returned in a different form this morning and affected site-wide performance. The good news is that we were able to mitigate it quickly and performance returned to normal around 11:15 UTC.  We are continuing to monitor the situation closely."

WordPress has some 25 million blogs, many of which are by members of the news media, leading to speculation that these are politically motivated attacks related in some way to the unrest in Libya and elsewhere.

No one has claimed responsibility for either of the attacks.

The Conversation (0)

Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}