DDoS attacks involve large numbers of computers bombarding a target system with traffic, with the intention of blocking access to the target site.
But the current attack on Spamhaus, a European nonprofit that helps email services filter out spam, is under unprecedented attack after blacklisting Dutch web host CyberBunker, which prides itself on hosting "anything but child pornography and terrorist material," which includes controversial client sites like Wikileaks.
CyberBunker is known for hosting spam gangs, but Sven Olaf Kamphuis, who claims to speak for the attackers, told the New York Times that “nobody ever deputized Spamhaus to determine what goes and does not go on the internet… They worked themselves into that position by pretending to fight spam.”
The attack has been going on for over a week, and Spamhaus says they are putting immense effort into fighting it off, reports BBC News. The current DDoS attack is exploiting the core structure of the internet, the Domain Name System, or DNS, to flood Spamhaus with a data stream of 300 gigabits per second. The previous largest DDoS attack ran up to 100 gb/s. All it took to bring down major banks was 50 gigabits per second.
Five national cyber-police forces are investigating the attacks. In the meantime, large companies like Google are making their resources available to help absorb the traffic.