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06.28.15

DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

Posted in Site News at 9:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Knocking the site over intentionally

Chess board

Summary: Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next

THERE is a long history of DDOS attacks against Techrights, going back to 2008 or thereabouts. There were also press articles about DDOS attacks against the site (based on evidence provided to journalists upon request). Pinpointing who’s to blame for an attack is a lot harder than combating an attack (one way or another) and holding someone accountable is virtually impossible. People don’t just give themselves away so willing.

Over the past week there was a new pattern of DDOS attacks and they came from AWS servers, so I was able to file abuse reports and pursue this complaint (still work in progress). At this stage I am still hoping to see who or what group (or company) is behind it. This is clearly malicious.

Over the past few months I lost a lot of time (maybe hundreds of hours) due to DDOS attacks. It’s financially damaging and emotionally exhausting. I have been privately advised to file a report with the Dutch authorities over various DDOS attacks, which some told me might be connected to the EPO (or particular high-level staff at the EPO). Nonetheless, these efforts are usually a waste of time (I last tried around 8 years ago), so I did not bother. It’s a patience-draining experience that usually yields no results at all. It’s mostly symbolic. I did plan to write about this at some later stage and I even told one person that I might write more about intricate details of the attacks one day, maybe after the storm is settled at the EPO (giving too much information away usually helps the attacker). Today I would like to share some information about recent DDOS attacks and patterns that were noticed. This is information that won’t help the attacker; rather, it might discourage the attacker.

Referring to our DDOS complaints (IP addresses of the EPO hammering on our server quite heavily) and my recent “tweet”, one person told me that “The EPO IU is based in Munich but that doesn’t really tell you anything about what IP addresses are going to appear on traffic from the EPO.

“As far as [I'm] informed much of the EPO’s IT infrastructure is located in the Hague (Rijswijk) office. So even Internet traffic from Munich may be routed through a proxy in the Hague and appear with a Netherlands IP address. In any case the IU (in Munich) could presumably delegate tasks to an IT department (which could be based in the Hague).

“But the fact that you seem to be identifying IP addresses assigned to the EPO is in itself revealing.

“A lot of EPO addresses begin with 145.64 [...] You can find many of the address blocks in the db-ip.com database. For example: https://db-ip.com/all/145.64.0

“But it’s important to note that the geographical location nominally associated with the EPO IP address (e.g. Rijswijk/Hague) doesn’t really tell you where the user of the IP address is physically located (e.g. whether in Munich or the Hague).”

More technical information about the nature of the DDOS-induced strain can be published when the storm at the EPO is over. I can only speculate about who’s behind the attacks and weigh the probabilities. There is no ‘smoking gun’ just yet.

Some things, like the nature of attacks on this site, can be published upon key events, such as key facts about SIPO/Željko Topić corruption being published after a defamation trial reveals that allegations have merit and are most likely true. It would be safer for Techrights to limit sharing of information temporarily and to do so (against accusations or retaliatory tactics) only until perceived foes are powerless and widely scrutinised.

“You could try filing a criminal complaint with the Dutch authorities,” one person told me. “It seems that they have take action against DDOS attacks in the past.

“The EPO will probably try to hide behind its “immunity” but that should not protect it in this case as DDOS is not part of its official functions.”

DDOS attacks are very hard to analyse for original sources, speaking as a system administrator here. As far back as pre-2010 I have tried complaining to British authorities and it never led to the slightest of actions. They don’t even know what DDOS means, until or unless it attacks some major business or a governmental institution. Experience teaches that it’s a waste of time to even initiate action and I already have a big battle with BT (since March) and another one brewing with Amazon (over the latest DDOS against Techrights). Amazon will hopefully unmask (perhaps under increasing pressure) the identity of the account behind it all. This needs to happen soon, maybe this week.

“You may be right,” wrote to us another person with some background in this area. “It’s probably easier just to block the addresses.” Well, it’s not always possible, not with AWS anyway (far too many IP addresses).

Speaking again with one who is familiar with the EPO’s network, I begin to consider filing a complaint directly with the EPO. “As mentioned previously,” wrote to us one person, “as far as we can determine, most officially registered EPO addresses begin with 145.64.

“See here: http://bgp.he.net/AS28756#_prefixes

“Also here: https://ipinfo.io/AS28756

The E-mail addresses listed for the Network Administrators at the EPO under the second link above are rather clear.

ywoue@epo.org and wherler@epo.org (that’s Wolfgang Herler) will soon be contacted.

We found two further E-mail addresses here: jbielsa@epo.org and nderuiter@epo.org (that’s Niek de Ruiter).

There is also an “impersonal” E-mail address for Network Administration: admin_network@epo.org

Once I get to the bottom of the DDOS attacks from Amazon AWS I may also make time to file a detailed complaint to the above addresses, complete with a list of offending EPO IP addresses (which automatically got banned by our security software/defences, based on their erratic behaviour).

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