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Dutch Government Websites Floored by Day-Long DDoS

The majority of the Dutch government’s websites were taken offline for most of Tuesday after a mysterious DDoS attack which also took down some private sites.

In a brief statement, the government said that the failure of Rijksoverheid.nl and “many other government websites” earlier this week was due to a DDoS.

It added:

“The outage began on Tuesday, February 10th at 10:00 am and lasted into the evening. Service Public Communications, part of the Ministry of General Affairs, together with Centric / Prolocation and the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC ) are investigating the attack.”

It’s unclear who was behind the attack, but several non-government sites were hit at the same time, according to the BBC.

These included satirical portal GeenStijl.nl – a site which is said to occasionally poke fun at religion, although there’s no suggestion that the attack was religiously motivated.

DDoS attacks on government sites are nothing new but it’s unusual for an outage of this length, especially for a country with fairly advanced threat prevention capabilities.

Arbor Networks director of solutions architects, Darren Anstee, claimed that a “variety of attack vectors may have been used in these attacks.”

Some 42% of service providers who responded to the DDoS prevention specialist’s recent Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report said they’d been subject to multi-vector attacks. 

He argued that organizations must take a multi-layered approach to DDoS mitigation if they are to deal with all possible attack scenarios.

“Application layer and state-exhaustion attacks needs to be dealt with quickly, before they impact infrastructure, and the best place to do this is at the enterprise/data center edge,” Anstee explained.

“But, larger volumetric attacks, which can saturate Internet connectivity, need to be dealt with by cloud / service-provider DDoS protection services, where sufficient capacity exists.”

Andy Settle, chief cybersecurity consultant at Thales UK, added that with DDoS attack infrastructure sold online for as little as $50, attribution will be difficult.

“In comparison, by rounding on incidents such as these, the media can elevate their visibility and cause the victim organizations to expend a significant amount of resources defending and mitigating against these situations,” he added.

“This economic asymmetry is not lost on those responsible, where else could you get onto the news for $50?”

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