Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

UAE and Gulf braces for slow internet speeds in wake of 'world's biggest cyber attack'

Companies across the region are bracing for more internet disruption in the wake of what has been described as the world's biggest cyber attack and a cut cable in the Mediterranean sea.

Companies across the region are bracing for more internet disruption in the wake of what has been described as the world's biggest cyber attack.

It has been sparked by a clash between Spamhaus, a UK spam-filtering outfit and Cyberbunker, a Netherlands-based web-hosting site. The Dutch company believes Spamhaus should not have the right to determine what goes on to the internet.

"It will have a major impact worldwide," said one cyber expert. "Spamhaus has servers that stop spam from going to the internet. There are a lot of companies in the region that subscribe to this to stop spam coming to them.

"If these guys are not working, spam will go on and increase traffic on the internet. The impact will be on places where there is a direct connection. It will clog up the whole internet."

Kaspersky Labs confirmed the attack was the largest seen to date.

"The data flow generated by such an attack may affect intermediate network nodes when it passes them, thus impeding operations of normal web services that have no relation to Spamhaus or Cyberbunker. Thus such distributed denial of service ... attack may affect regular users as well, with network slowdown," said a statement from Kaspersky.

The attacks have since subsided according to Spamhaus and are smaller in size, "however, attacks do not just come and go. They also change in nature all the time", said the company on its website.

The disruption comes after several days of slow internet connectivity in the region after the undersea fibre optic cable Seacom was cut by a ship anchor last week off the coast of Egypt.

On Wednesday Egyptian naval forces arrested three men alleged to be trying to cause further damage to the cable which connects Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Etisalat's internet connectivity slowed down significantly as a result of the cut.

The phone company du said yesterday that the cable cuts had not affected customers with fixed and mobile voice and internet services working normally. Etisalat was unavailable for comment.

"It is hard to work out what the causes of these attacks were. One of the reasons most commonly cited is to do with ship pilots racing to get into docks first and once they get ahead they throw down their anchor to slow down, which severs cables," said Matthew Reed, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Three generations of the Hakimi family tend to their stall Crawford Market in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

In pictures: Shopper’s delight at Crawford Market in Mumbai

Crawford Market is an old British-style covered market dealing in just about every kind of fresh food and domestic animal imaginable. Later on renamed Mahatma Jotirao Phule, the market remains popular among locals and visitors by its old name, taken from Arthur Crawford who was the first municipal commissioner of the city.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National