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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Cyber hacker hits Paula Dockery's campaign site

20

January

The campaign of Sen. Paula Dockery, a Lakeland Republican running for government on a clean-up-government platform, was hit with a sophisticated computer hack this week that clogged her website.

Her campaign is fixing the problem. The FBI has been notified of the attack, but it’s unclear what it can do.

Here’s an excerpt of an email from her tech support guru on the attack sent yesterday, Tuesday Jan. 19:

As you all have noticed, the website has been up and down for the past two days. 

This is the result of an attack that first started at 6am yesterday morning.  It continued sporadically at various times yesterday.  Today, starting at 6am, the attack resumed at a much larger level (approximately 2.5 times).  To give you an idea of the magnitude, a graph showing this is attached.  We are not 100% certain that it was directed at the campaign yet, but it is very likely that is the case.

In essence, what is happening is someone is sending approximately 40,000 requests per second to the website/server, then immediately closing them… It is the equivalent of 2.4 million people a minute browsing to the site and closing it immediately.  In essence this saturates the number of connections available to legitimate people trying to get to the server, causing them to time-out when they visit the site.  In security terms it is called a Denial of Service Attack (DoS). 

To make matters worse, the attacker is sophisticated enough to spoof (in other words, forge) the source of the traffic…. It also means that the attack appears like legitimate traffic….

To give you an idea as to the relative size of this attack, the average attack of this type is around 500 requests per second. In other words, this one is very, very large (which also suggests a more sophisticated attacker). ….

--Marc Caputo

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:15pm]

    

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