An apparent DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on the DNS run by Akamai Technologies Inc. slowed traffic across the Internet early Tuesday and brought the sites of the firms major customers to a screeching halt for roughly two hours.
“There was a large-scale, international attack that did affect the Internet name service,” said Jeff Young, spokesman for Akamai in Cambridge, Mass. “There is no information that it was specifically targeted at Akamai. Were working to find out the intent.”
At around 8:30 a.m. EDT, Internet performance deteriorated sharply according to officials at Keynote Systems Inc. By 9 a.m., the availability of sites in Keynotes Business 40 Internet Performance Index had dropped to 81 percent, said Lloyd Taylor, vice president of technology and operations for San Mateo, Calif.-based Keynote, which monitors Web performance.
Keynote was able to determine that the problems were limited to several large sites, including MSN.com, Microsoft.com and Yahoo.com, that outsource DNS services to Akamai. Those sites were all but inaccessible until the service was restored around 10:45 a.m., Taylor said.
Keynote officials said they were still investigating the cause of the outage but that the event had all the signs of a denial-of-service attack. It happened very suddenly and then recovered slowly, and it has the fingerprint of the typical DDoS attack, Taylor said.
Akamais Young would not comment on the investigation or on whether federal law enforcement officials were involved.