April 1, 2012
No Major Incidents Result From ‘Operation Global Blackout’
Despite threats that the hacking collective Anonymous would attempt to flood the 13 root servers that are part of the Domain Name System (DNS) with traffic as part of "Operation Global Blackout," there were no reports of any major cyberattacks as of Saturday evening, according to various media outlets.
In an article dated March 31, Somini Sengupta of the New York Times said that one individual monitoring DNS traffic noticed a five-minute spike on one of those 13 servers shortly after midnight Friday Greenwich Mean Time.
Other than that, however, the call for attacks, which were issued six weeks ago, appeared to have had "no discernible impact" as of Saturday morning in the Eastern US, Sengupta added.
Likewise, PCMag's David Murph reported that the DNS roots were "currently operating 'within normal performance range,'" citing a report from an anonymous security researcher on Twitter, and that Anonymous itself has declared that the group did not have any activity planned for March 31.
Bill Woodcock of the Packet Clearing House, a group who has been part of a multimillion-dollar effort to strengthen DNS security since the threats were first issued, told the Times that the way that the events unfolded were "kind of anticlimactic," but added, "That was kind of the goal."
Had the group managed to flood the root server IP addresses with traffic, "the results could be fairly dramatic," Murphy said. "Typing your favorite URL into a web browser could net you zero results, as there wouldn't be a behind-the-scenes mechanism for translating the domain name into its actual IP address“¦ In other words, the website might exist on some server somewhere, but you'd have no way to get there."
Fortunately for Internet surfers everywhere, this was a false alarm -- but as Woodcock warned the Times during an interview, "Whether or not Anonymous carries out this particular attack, there are larger attacks that do happen."
"A forewarning of this attack allowed everyone to act proactively for a change," he added. "We can get out in front of the bigger attacks."