“Operation Italy” takes down government website

Plans by Anonymous to launch a distributed denial of service attack against www.governo.it were changed half an hour before the attack was scheduled to commence. The group used IRC, Twitter, Pastebin and image sharing sites to advertise the attack a day before it was due to start, but the surprise change meant that www.italia.gov.it unexpectedly ended up bearing the brunt of the attack.

The DDoS attack against www.italia.gov.it was immediately successful, with the site becoming inaccessible from 14:00 UTC on Thursday. The attack appeared to subside a few hours later and the site is now functioning normally with no apparent changes to its infrastructure.

After seeing how easily its "lulzcannon" were able to take down www.italia.gov.it, some members of Anonymous called for the original target, www.governo.it, to be attacked as well. It was not apparent how many people took part in this secondary attack, but it appeared to have a minimal impact on the site's availability:

Attacks continue against Finnish anti-piracy website

Finnish anti-piracy organisation TTVK is still under attack after it successfully applied for one of the country's largest ISPs to block access to the popular bittorrent tracker, The Pirate Bay. The Helsinki District Court ordered Elisa Oyj to implement the block, and Elisa responded by appealing the decision to the Helsinki Court of Appeal.

In protest against the block, AnonFinland called for its supporters to "fire their cannons" at the TTVK's antipiracy.fi website, which quickly succumbed to the attack. Anonymous has issued similar calls to arms in the past – most notably towards the end of 2010, when WikiLeaks supporters successfully used the LOIC tool (Low Orbit Ion Cannon) to attack the websites of Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.

Shortly after calling for the site to be attacked, AnonFinland tweeted a now-customary "tango down" message, signifying that the attack had succeeded. With a Netcraft site rank of only 435586, it is likely that antipiracy.fi was typically not accustomed to large volumes of traffic. This, coupled with the fact that the site does not make use of a CDN to increase redundancy or reduce network latency, may have made the organisation an easy target.

antipiracy.fi – which is coincidentally hosted by Elisa Oyj – was still down at the time of publication.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in December 2011

Rank Company site OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.003 0.082 0.051 0.104 0.104
2 Virtual Internet Linux 0:00:00 0.003 0.150 0.066 0.137 0.209
3 New York Internet FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.003 0.130 0.068 0.138 0.411
4 iWeb Technologies Linux 0:00:00 0.007 0.073 0.048 0.096 0.096
5 www.netcetera.co.uk Windows Server 2008 0:00:00 0.007 0.033 0.065 0.132 0.264
6 www.westhost.com Linux 0:00:00 0.010 0.350 0.095 0.203 0.558
7 Rackspace F5 BIG-IP 0:00:00 0.013 0.116 0.067 0.166 0.372
8 Datapipe FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.017 0.071 0.013 0.019 0.034
9 INetU Windows Server 2008 0:00:00 0.017 0.084 0.041 0.165 0.351
10 Pair Networks FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.017 0.215 0.074 0.151 0.438

See full table

The most reliable hosting company in December was Qube Managed Services, which responded to all but one of Netcraft's requests throughout the entire month. Qube offers managed hosting, cloud hosting and managed colocation for a range of customers, with a particular interest for those in the Finance and New Media sectors. The company was founded in London in 2001, where it now has two data centers. Customers can also make use of Qube's additional data centers in New York and Zurich.

Qube also performed well in the previous month, when it was the second most reliable hosting company.

Virtual Internet took second place, also with only one failed request, but with a longer connection time. The UK-based company provides a content distribution network (CDN) for the Monstermind game on Facebook, and also offers a range of private and public cloud hosting on both VMware and Xen hypervisors.

New York Internet was the third most reliable hosting company. NYI offers colocation, dedicated servers and virtual hosting from data centers in New York. The company focuses on reliability and technical support that is responsive round the clock.

Four of December's top ten most reliable hosting company sites used Linux, while three used FreeBSD, two used Windows Server 2008, and one used F5 BIG-IP.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.

Sustained LiveJournal DDoS attack continues

Blogging site LiveJournal is still being hammered by a distributed denial of service attack which started 10 days ago.

On November 28, the LiveJournal Status website announced in both English and Russian that the site was under a DDoS attack.

The attack appears to have continued over the past 10 days, causing some significant outages and slowdowns. Nonetheless, LiveJournal did manage to stay online throughout most of this period, although the company had to disable support for third party services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google yesterday.

LiveJournal has been owned by Russian media company SUP since 2007, and there has been much speculation that this latest attack could be related to recent elections in Russia. LiveJournal was subjected to a series of similar attacks in March and April this year, which LiveJournal attempted to counter by upgrading their servers.

At 13:15 UTC today, LiveJournal again confirmed that the site was up, but still under a DDoS attack.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in November 2011

Rank Company site OS Outage hh:mm:ss Failed Req% DNS Connect First byte Total
1 Datapipe FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.004 0.273 0.005 0.012 0.078
2 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.011 0.300 0.053 0.107 0.107
3 Hosting 4 Less Linux 0:00:00 0.011 0.201 0.079 0.295 0.551
4 www.micfo.com Linux 0:00:00 0.014 0.267 0.063 0.340 0.511
5 Server Intellect Windows Server 2008 0:00:00 0.014 0.175 0.092 0.188 0.453
6 ReliableServers.com Linux 0:00:00 0.018 0.461 0.071 0.145 0.156
7 New York Internet FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.021 0.096 0.034 0.074 0.223
8 Swishmail FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.021 0.762 0.068 0.137 0.342
9 www.logicworks.net Linux 0:00:00 0.025 0.098 0.037 0.107 0.245
10 ServInt Linux 0:00:00 0.025 0.471 0.076 0.156 0.332
See full table

Datapipe was the most reliable hosting company in November and has now claimed the top spot seven times this year. The company offers a range of services including managed hosting, compliance, security and cloud computing. Datapipe recently extended its presence in Asia by partnering with Shanghai Data Solutions (SDS), which owns and operates fully redundant carrier-neutral datacentres in China.

The second most reliable this month was Qube Managed Services, a London-based hosting company with additional datacentres in New York and Zurich. The company offers managed hosting, cloud hosting and managed colocation for a range of customers with a particular interest for those in the Finance and New Media sectors. This is the second time that Qube has ranked in the top three. The company was also listed as best performing cloud platform in Europe and the US this month.

Hosting 4 Less came in third this month. The company guarantees a 99.9% uptime and offers Windows and Linux hosting as well as e-commerce and FTP hosting. Hosting 4 Less also sells SSL Certificates through Certs 4 Less, a sibling company which is a Platinum Partner of VeriSign, GeoTrust, Thawte and RapidSSL.

Six of November's top ten most reliable hosting company sites used Linux, while three used FreeBSD and one used Windows Server 2008.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.

Sustained DDoS attack against 4chan

A sustained distributed denial of service attack against 4chan has kept the site's message boards mostly offline since the weekend:

4chan's status page, which is hosted on Google's Blogger platform, announced on Sunday 13 November that the site was down due to a large DDoS attack. 4chan today revealed that the ongoing DDoS attack consists of a UDP packet flood on port 80. Such attacks typically aim to disrupt normal operation of a website, either by saturating all available bandwidth, or by exhausting the processing capacity of a web server, thus denying service to legitimate users.

The attack also affected 4chan's main page at www.4chan.org, which has been intermittently unavailable during the same period:

Many popular internet memes are believed to have originated from 4chan's message boards, including Lolcats and the practice of rickrolling. The boards were also used to recruit volunteers when the group Anonymous carried out a series of DDoS attacks against MasterCard, Visa and PayPal last year. When 4chan itself subsequently suffered a similar attack at the start of this year, 4chan made light of the fact that it had joined "the ranks of MasterCard, Visa, PayPal et al.–an exclusive club!".