Man Arrested in Connection with Huge DDoS Attack

Dennis Faas's picture

Spanish police have arrested a man on suspicion of masterminding one of the largest online attacks ever recorded. The suspect appears to be the chief of a controversial web hosting company who had begun a rivalry with the anti-spamming group hit by the attack.

According to Dutch prosecutors the man arrested was a 35-year-old Netherlands resident with the initials 'S.K.' That appears to match Sven Kamphuis, a senior figure at Cyberbunker. (Source:

Cyberbunker is a web hosting company known for having a particularly relaxed attitude to the online activities of its customers. That led to it being put on a blacklist by Spamhaus, an organization that offers email filtering services.

This blacklisting appears to have sparked a number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in which the Spamhaus servers were flooded with bogus requests until they were effectively knocked offline.

At the time, the attacks were described as unprecedented in size and scale, with a peak intensity of 300Gbps. However, experts have since questioned those claims. (Source:

Attacks Used Creative Loophole

The attacks took advantage of a loophole in the way website addresses work. Whenever you visit a web page, your computer looks up the website address on a directory known as a Domain Name System (DNS) server to find out which actual machine that website's files are physically stored on.

The people behind the attacks sent bogus requests for information to DNS servers, making it appear the requests came from Spamhaus. The attackers did so in a way that meant that for every one bogus request they made, a string of different DNS servers all sent a response to Spamhaus, making the attack far more powerful.

Suspects Claims Diplomatic Immunity

Dutch prosecutors report that Spanish police found S.K. with computers and hard drives that have now been seized. S.K. was also found in possession of "NATO secret" and "NATO unclassified" rubber stamps.

According to reports, the suspect claimed to be a diplomat from the "Telecommunications and Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Cyberbunker."

For his part, Sven Kamphuis has previously denied all involvement in the Spamhuis attack. He says that it's more likely that the attack was launched by Stophaus, a group that has outlined its opposition to Spamhaus' work.

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