Spyware Critic Knocked Offline by DDoS Attack

A massive denial-of-service attack crashes the Web site of Harvard researcher and anti-spyware activist Ben Edelman.

Harvard researcher Ben Edelman, one of the most vocal critics of spyware purveyors, fell victim to a massive DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack over the past 24 hours.

Edelmans Web site, which publishes detailed research reports on spyware, was knocked offline for much of Monday and Tuesday by a DDoS attack that crippled the server capacity.

"My prior Web host tells me I was the target of the biggest DDoS attack theyve ever suffered—some 600MB per second," Edelman said.

He told eWEEK.com the site was an obvious target for denial-of-service attacks because of his work to uncover controversial online schemes ranging from software installations through security holes to adware companies deleting each others programs.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about an anti-spyware consortium falling apart.

Edelmans published reports also have highlighted venture capital investments in adware companies and detailed step-by-step evidence of "drive-by downloads" and confusing software-installation techniques.

"These arent nice practices, so I suppose it comes as no surprise that someone—perhaps some group or company that doesnt like what Im writing—has sought to knock my site offline," Edelman said.

Denial-of-service attacks are used by malicious hackers to flood a network with bogus requests, effectively slowing or crashing a server. "The bad guys have thousands or millions of zombies to use in [these attacks]," Edelman said.

With the help of the nonprofit Internet Systems Consortium Inc., which has offered to host the site, Edelman said his research material was back online Wednesday morning.

Edelman is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Economics at Harvard University and a student at Harvard Law School.

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