Washington (DC) - The department of Homeland Security, along with other government sites including the Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation department, have been hit with a massive denial of service (DoS) attack. The White House, the Department of Defense, the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the Washington Post were also targeted.
The attacks started on Independence Day, but were only made public yesterday after bringing a number of sites to their knees. Some South Korean government sites have also been subjected to attack, notably the Defense Ministry and National Assembly. Several banks were also hit.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said the agency was 'aware of ongoing attacks' and confirmed that the Treasury and Secret Service sites were brought down. The government's Computer Emergency Response Team has now issued guidance to public and private sector web sites to mitigate the effects of the attack.
"We see attacks on federal networks every day, and measures in place have minimized the impact to federal Web sites," said the DHS in a statement which stressed that the attacks did not compromise any confidential data.
Security experts claim that the attack was 'on a massive scale', but that there is currently no evidence as to who was behind the attack, which involved a botnet estimated at some 50,000 computers.
"It certainly seems to be a well-organized attack," said one. "There are a lot of computers involved. What we don't know is who is orchestrating it."