At least three DNS root servers, including one maintained by the US Department of Defense, were flooded with data for about 12 hours in an attack that was notable more for its audacity than any noticeable degradation of internet traffic.
The DOD's G server was among those sustaining the most damage, according to an analysis of the machine's unanswered queries. The L server, maintained by ICANN, and the WIDE Project's M server, located in multiple locations, were also hit in attacks that started a little after midnight GMT on Tuesday.
There were reports that F and I servers also faced increased traffic, but those attacks appeared to be short-lived. They appeared to affect certain top-level-domains, including .org.
SANS said it was aware of root server attacks but is still wading through data before issuing a report. It encouraged people with logs, or other information relating to the attacks to send it to SANS officials.
It was unclear where the attacks originated, since the perpetrators disguised the origination of the packet flood, according to the Associated Press. There was some speculation they may have come out of Korea.
There were few reports of widespread outages, which comes as little surprise since the group of 13 root servers, which is then broken up into dozens more smaller, geographically dispersed servers, were designed so that two-thirds can fail with no noticeable interruption. Whois and other services provided by ICANN were down for a time, according to a post on a discussion group.
Despite the inefficacy of the attack, federal authorities, especially those in the military, never take kindly to attacks on their infrastructure. We envision a lot of sleepless nights for government spooks until the perpetrators are caught. ®