The Web site of an organisation that provides alerts to the latest computer security issues has itself come under attack by hackers.
For the last two days staff at the CERT co-ordination Centre have been dealing with a flood of bogus data requests, which is affecting the availability of the site for some users.
The distributed denial of service attack is believed to originate from a number of sources but CERT is no closer to identifying the culprits.
A CERT spokesman told The Register that it was in the process of talking to ISPs with the aim of stemming the attacks.
He said none of the site's data had been compromised by the attack and said that CERT is continuing to operate through the attack. CERT will issue advisories by email if necessary.
The attack is similar to hacker activity CERT sees every day but is far more sustained and determined.
CERT is a "juicy target", according to our source at the security centre, who added that such attacks are "hard to prevent".
Richard Pethia, director of the Networked Systems Survivability Program at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, which includes CERT, said: "The lesson to be learned here is that no one is immune to these kinds of attacks. They cause operational problems, and it takes time to deal with them."
The DDoS attack on CERT comes at a time when the FBI and academic researchers are warning that such attacks are becoming more prevalent.
Research by the University of San Diego Super Computer Centre found that over the course of just three weeks that an alarming total 12,000 DDoS attacks were launched against 5,000 targets, ranging from the servers of Amazon and Hotmail to home PCs. ®