Hosting firm felled by attacks

A massive distributed-denial-of-service attack hit an Australian Web hosting firm over the weekend

A wave of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against hosting giant WebCentral, which began on Saturday, downed the network for a second time on Sunday.

According to a statement issued by the Queensland-based company, the attack began on Saturday at 4 p.m., affecting all customers with systems located in its primary data centre. WebCentral's secondary data centre was also knocked offline briefly by the attack when fail-safe systems began re-directing the DDoS traffic to the secondary site. WebCentral was able to restore full service by 4 a.m. on Sunday morning; however, the company experienced another shorter outage today, according to its chief executive, Lloyd Ernst.

"The outage today ranged from about 35 minutes to 120 minutes," he told ZDNet Australia . "We are getting the authorities involved in this investigation."

According to Ernst, the attack was conducted using a technique that the company had not seen before, but he would not be drawn on the precise nature of the bombardment.

"The attacks were unique," he said. "We've been asked [by the authorities] not to give out too many details."

DDoS attacks against hosting providers are very common, Ernst said, adding that circumventing garden-variety DDoS attacks is not that difficult and "is something that we spend a lot of time and energy on".

The company is not anticipating any further outages.