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BT service reduces denial-of-service attack response times

Ian Grant

Companies can cut response times to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by up to two-thirds with a new managed service from BT Managed Services, says Ray Stanton, global head of BT's business continuity, security and governance practice.

The new service, launched today (2 October) for UK customers, is the first to use Arbor Networks' new threat management system (TMS) technology. This produces a unique profile of expected traffic for each client.

A network of Arbor threat detectors across BTNet monitors internet traffic directed at a website to identify traffic surges and patterns of activity that could signal a DDoS attack. When an attack happens, network managers divert traffic through a mitigation device to filter out attack traffic and allow genuine traffic through to the client's site. This cuts response times from 30 minutes to 10 minutes, Stanton said.

A 2006 DTI study said 14% of large UK businesses reported a DDoS attacks that year, and Estonia's IP-based communications networks were shut down by a massive sustained attack in May.

Arbor Networks' Jose Nazario said, "We have seen 128 unique DDoS attacks on Estonian websites in the past two weeks. Of these, 115 were ICMP floods, four were TCP SYN floods, and nine were generic traffic floods. Attacks were not distributed uniformly, with some sites seeing more attacks than others."

Although the Estonian attacks probably had political motives, Stanton said, "Today's bot networks are now more likely to be controlled by criminals than hackers for profit. They use them to send phishing e-mails and other spam, for click fraud, as an extortion tool against businesses."

Jack Boyle, Arbor Networks' CEO, said, "BT is the first company in Europe to use our auto-mitigation technology in this way and we have worked closely with them to deliver a genuine first-to-market system."

BT plans to extend the service to European and US markets in the future.


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