DDoS of unprecedented scale 'stops Sweden working'. The target? A gaming site

Could LizardSquad be at work again?

Much of Sweden's fixed-line broadband became collateral damage as a result of a DDoS attack on a mystery gaming site this week.

While DDoS attacks are par for the course for most online businesses these days, the vast majority of these attacks don't go on to affect the broadband connections of an entire country. But that's what happened to customers of Telia, Sweden's largest ISP, for 45 minutes on Tuesday night and then again intermittently throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Telia hasn't said how many of its 1.2 million residential subscribers were affected by outages but has confirmed the attack knocked out fixed-line broadband, digital TV, and VoIP connections.

Telia released a statement on Wednesday night highlighting the fact that it had resolved the problem and is now investigating the source of the attack.

The company initially thought it was the target of the attack, but a spokesman told ZDNet it had since discovered the target was an online gaming site.

"Telia were not the prime target. It was an internet gaming company that was attacked and they sent us massive traffic which our DNS servers could not handle. We will of course investigate this incident further," Telia's spokesman said. He declined to name the gaming site.

According to Swedish news bureau TT, the group behind the attack was LizardSquad. The group last week claimed responsibility for a Sony PlayStation network outage and a prior attack on Microsoft XBox Live.

LizardSquad claimed in a Twitter update on Thursday that it had knocked gaming company Electronic Arts offline. ZDNet has asked EA for comment and will update the story if it receives one.

Speaking at an Ericsson event in Stockholm, TeliaSonera's CEO Johan Dennelind said the DDoS attack left "Sweden not working".

"It really shows the vulnerability of our era," he told ZDNet later. While the ISP has faced DDoS attacks, this one was particularly "severe," he said. "We haven't seen an attack on that type of scale before," said Dennilind.

The company is still running a 'post-mortem' on the incident but the main focus yesterday was bringing up the network again and stabilising it. Now the company is embarking on the difficult task of finding out who was behind it.

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