DNS Attack On Akamai Brought Apple.com Down Tuesday Morning

If you were trying to run a search in Google, read your Yahoo mail, or buy a Mac yesterday morning, you may have had a problem doing so. These sites and others were affected by a Denial of Service attack that ultimately brought down the Domain Name Service (DNS) server at Akamai that references those sites. Without DNS servers, the routers that direct traffic on the Internet donit know where to send your browser requests.

CNet News is reporting that the attack centered on Web sites supported by Akamai, but it is unclear whether the attack was against Akamai or the sites it supports. From CNet:

The attack caused problems for more than two hours--from 5:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. PDT. Many of the worldis most popular sites suffered from widespread outages, according to Keynote Systems, which compiles statistics related to Web surfing. On a typical day, the top 40 sites measured by Keynote rarely dip below 99 percent availability. On Tuesday, however, Keynote saw availability drop to 81 percent.

Where the attack struck first has yet to be determined, and the affected companies are pointing to others, not themselves. An attack on Akamai could have rippled out to Google and the other sites, or those sites might have been individually targeted, which in turn could have put pressure on a key Internet service that Akamai runs.

An Akamai spokesman said it noticed an attack against four unnamed "customers" that rendered their sites inaccessible. Akamai said the strike against those customers in turn caused a failure of its own domain name server (DNS) system, which translates word-based URLs into numeric Web addresses to link surfers to company sites.

"We do know that attack was against four sites that happened to be Akamai customers," company spokesman Jeff Young said. "But I donit know if the intent was to go after Akamai or go after Web properties that happened to be customers of ours."

Thereis more information in the full story at CNet News.