Cyber Attack Immobilizes Dutch Government Websites

As reported by the BBC, most of the Dutch government’s websites were rendered inoperable after a successful distributed denial of service (DDoS) cyber-attack on Tuesday, when servers were flooded with traffic, rendering the sites virtually inoperable.  A number of private sites were also breached, and the attack also affected communications provider Telford.  As the BBC noted, these attacks “highlighted the vulnerability of public infrastructure.”

An official from the Dutch Government Information Service, Rimbert Kloosterman, remarked that the complexity and size of the government’s websites had rendered back-up systems useless.  The host of the Dutch government’s website, Prolocation, lost the use of its telephone lines as a result of the attack, which initially presented itself as an internal technical problem, and not an outside attack.

Industry experts believe that the DDoS attacks are signs of even greater risks to companies.  Dave Larson, of Corero Network Security, said: “As enterprises increasingly rely on hosted critical infrastructure or services, they are placing themselves at even greater risk from these devastating cyber-threats – even as an indirect target.”  He continued that DDoS attacks were “increasingly being used as a smokescreen to hide even more malicious activity on the network.”

The attack followed warnings that French government sites had been targeted, and occurred the same day the US government announced the launch of its own Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center to identify and fill security “gaps” by gathering and analyzing data on a rapid basis.