London: The internet is under increasing threat from hackers who aim to bring down entire networks as battles between cyber-criminals intensifies, a new report has warned.
A survey of 70 of the world’s largest internet companies brought out the growing anxiety from growing threat from hackers. It found growing concern over a range of new threats from malicious hackers, many of them rival criminal gangs trying to damage each other’s operations.
To make matters worse, while the ferocity and frequency of the hackers’ attacks were growing, the capability of their targets to cope was weakening due to financial pressures.
The chief weapon remains so-called botnets, or networks of infected or robot PCs, which can be hijacked by the hacker to transfer vast amounts of data over the internet. The aim being to swamp computer servers with large amount of data and bring down entire networks.
The new study by US company Arbor Networks, which helps internet service providers (ISPs) monitor the performance of their networks, found that the size of the biggest botnet attacks has grown a hundredfold since 2000. It noticed a significant increase in attacks being targeted at e-commerce sites.
Hackers have sprayed up to 40 gigabits of data around the internet in recent attacks which, given that the biggest networks carry only a quarter of that amount, is guaranteed to overwhelm the system, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said.
According to the British daily, many of the attacks are carried out by one group of cyber-criminals against another as they fight over control of online scams such as pyramid schemes. According to the report, a popular technique employed by hackers is called reflective amplification and involves hijacking a small number of computer than can channel a vast amount of data toward a victim.