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DDoS Assault on Jewish Genealogy Site June 17, 2014

Posted by usdiaspora in Terrorism.
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Jewishgen.org is a genealogy resource operated by ancestry.com.  On June 16, a yet-to-be-identified cyber-terrorist launched a DDoS assault on ancestry’s servers causing Jewishgen.org to crash, followed soon after by a crash of all ancestry-owned websites.  Late on June 17, Jewishgen.org was restored, and a few hours later the rest of ancestry’s sites (except findagrave.com) came back on line… only to crash once again within about 40 minutes.

Affected websites:

  • ancestry.com
  • archives.com
  • findagrave.com
  • fold3.com
  • genealogy.com (including genforum)
  • JewishGen.org
  • rootsweb.com

DDoS stands for “Distributed Denial of Service,” and the way these malicious attacks are carried out is through the employment of a network of 10,000 to 100,000 “bot” computers programmed to all access an organization’s servers simultaneously, causing them to crash. Becuase of the large number of sources behind the attack, it cannot quickly be resolved by simply blocking one originating ip address, as there are potentially hundreds of thousands of them that need to be blocked, which takes copious amounts of time and resources.  They eventually get cleaned up… but how long this takes is dependent on the resources available to the victim.

We trust that the issue will be resolved in time… but it is impossible to estimate when these services will be back online. Matt Drew observes,

“The longer the DDoS goes on, the more zombies are exposed, located, and taken offline, eventually draining the DDoS of its power. Consider that the U.S. government could not sustain a DDoS attack on Wikileaks for more than a week or so, even with what amounts to virtually unlimited resources.”

This is a very good reason why we should not have huge (vulnerable) monopolies: it’s too easy to wipe everything out in one fell swoop!  May justice come to the perpetrators soon and swiftly.