no internet

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Mumbai came under a heavy Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack from unknown hackers, reducing the internet surfing speed in the city, reports the Indian Express. The attacks generated 200 GB/sec traffic, slowing Internet usage to a crawl on affected ISPs.

Hathway officially issued a statement to its users citing “Dear users due to International hacker attack on major Indian ISPs N/w, we are facing big issue of slow speed and fluctuation of line.” Other than this, it’s not clear which ISPs are affected although this reddit thread claims that Airtel is the primary ISP being DDoSed, which distributes broadband to other smaller companies, leading to network blockages across a wide range of ISPs.

Redditors and news agencies have also reported slowdowns due to these attacks in various cities of Maharashtra, however my internet connection (provided by YouBroadBand) in Pune is working fine. We expect such an attack to slow down certain portions, rather than all of the internet in a given region. A case has been registered against the unknown perpetrators with the Mumbai Cyber Crime branch.

Note that it’s not easy to pinpoint perpetrator of such an attack as the traffic almost always comes from other devices infected with malicious code. In fact, IP addresses to be used for making an attack can be purchased on the black market, making it very difficult to figure out the source of the attack. DDoS attacks do not let attackers into a system and as such are mostly an inconvenience rather than a privacy concern. However, hackers can use DDoS attacks as masking attacks while having a different plan to breach the system.

Other cyber attacks in India:

– In May, the IRCTC was allegedly hacked although the agency later denied the claim.  The Maharashtra Police had informed IRCTC about a “data theft from its website”, but no details were shared.

– In September last year, a Cisco router hack exposed Internet traffic details from India and other countries.

– In August the same year, BSNL’s regional telecom training centre Jaipur subdomain was hacked by hackers who claimed to have deleted all data on the website they had access to.

– In June 2015, Ola was allegedly hacked, although the company said it happened in a staging environment of the app with no user data exposed.

– In May 2015, Times Internet owned music streaming service Gaana was hacked, although no financial or personal data, besides Gaana login details, were compromised.

Also read: India third largest source of malicious online activity in 2015: Symantec

Image source: Flickr user ben dalton under CC BY-SA 2.0