Police foil UK net attack

Scotland Yard is believed to have uncovered a terrorist plot to attack one of Europe’s largest collocation facilities, which houses a significant amount of telecoms infrastructure and is a main hub for UK internet traffic.

A report in UK newspaper the Sunday Times reveals that UK police discovered computer files during a series of raids last year, disclosing the Telehouse Europe facility in London’s Docklands as a potential target for terrorist action such as infiltration or bombing.

The suspects have since been arrested but it is reported that “intense reconnaissance” was carried out on the facility, considered to be one of the most secure locations in the UK.

Neither Scotland Yard nor Telehouse will make any comment on the report but major telcos would have alternative routes to keep web traffic moving. However, concerns over terrorists being able to bring down significant portions of the internet are not new.

Perhaps the most famous example came in 1998, when representatives from L0pht Heavy Industries hacker and security think tank testified before Congress in the US that they could “shut down the entire internet in 30 minutes.”

While such a feat has never been achieved, security experts concede that such threats have to be considered as valid concerns.

Last week, internet authority the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) released a report on the major attack carried out on the internet’s root of DNS servers early in February.

The 13 core DNS servers of the internet were hit with a significant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack but Icann claims that the internet withstood the attack because of the implementation of Anycast load balancing technology.

Although six of the 13 root servers were affected, the two worst affected did not have Anycast installed.

The Anycast platform allows a number of servers in different places to act as if they are in the same location.

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