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.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.