DDoS Attacks Target Prominent Blogs

Several prominent weblogs have been hit with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in recent weeks, as the target list for digital attackers continues to broaden. While some of the attacks appear to be politically motivated, on Monday a DDoS struck one of the blogosphere's most financially successful bloggers.

Australian Darren Rowse confirmed that an outage Monday on his ProBlogger weblog was caused by a DDoS, but provided no details about the attackers or their motives. Rowse gained international attention last year when he revealed that he would make more than $100,000 as a solo blogger in 2005, primarily through earnings from Google AdSense advertising and commissions from affiliate referral programs.

Has the success of professional bloggers made them viable financial targets for professional DDoS attackers? Sites with large volumes of transactions are the primary targets for a cottage industry of digital extortionists using DDoS attacks, usually launched through large botnets of compromised computers. These attacks have previously targeted online betting sites, payment gateways, domain parking services and even online games.

An earlier series of attacks targeted the blog of Michelle Malkin, who led a movement among bloggers to mirror the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad that initially appeared in a Danish magazine. The attacks began Feb. 15, and escalated on Feb. 23, when an attack from a botnet in Turkey forced Malkin to post on the Pajamas Media weblog until her main site was available again.

The attacks on Malkin's blog appear to be part of a broader pattern of hacker activism targeting sites that have featured the cartoons, including the defacement of hundreds of sites as well as denial of service attacks.