Anti-spam organisation Spamhaus has recovered from a denial of service attack over the weekend.
Initially though, Spamhaus may have been attacked in response to its warning that a WikiLeaks mirror called WikiLeaks.info was being hosted by a Russian bullet-proof hosting outfit, called Webalta, that also played home to phishing, carding and malware sites. Spamhaus advised users to use a safer mirror, WikilLeaks.ch, instead. Trend Micro harboured similar concerns over WikiLeaks.info's association with Webalta and its reseller Heihachi.net, described by Trend as a "safe haven for criminals and fraudsters".
WikiLeaks.info, a site only loosely affiliated with the main WikiLeaks site, got the hump at this, arguing there was no malware on its sites and speculating that political pressure might have been applied towards Spamhaus.
Spamhaus began receiving the odd threatening email from individuals who had affiliated themselves with Anonymous, so when a denial of service attack began on Saturday it was natural to assume at first that the site was under attack from (more than a little misguided) hacktivists.
However, analysis of the attack traffic showed marked differences from the LOIC packet-flooding tool used by Anonymous. Instead the attack consisted of UDP and Syn flood packets, sent from a botnet of compromised PCs. In addition, discussions on Anon's message board revealed that Spamhaus was not a target for attack and that its explanation of its warning about WikiLeaks.info was understood as intended.
So rather than an attack by Anons, Spamhaus reckons it came under attack by the Heihachi group as a revenge against bringing its nefarious activities to wider attention, as it explains here.
Spamhaus, which tracks the activities of black-hat hackers, botmasters, spammers and other internet pond life is no stranger to denial of service attacks from this type of quarter. ®