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Approximately one third of the over 100 websites which we have currently in operation were rendered useless late tuesday afternoon December 9th 2014 by what is now known to be DDoS attacks to our primary website hosting provider, 1 and 1 Internet.

  For the clients of CommonSenseSites and SiteSmythe this affected 35 various sites that we are aware of.  A distributed denial of service  (DDoS) attack is when a group of many systems all attempt to request information from a single site. Each one of the attackers will try many hundreds of times a minute -causing it to be overloaded with requests and either very slow or useless to legitimate requests from viewers on the Internet.  As this is not an equipment failure - or a section of the network that has failed and can be repaired, it can be a very difficult problem to fix.

 

   In this particular case from what we hear, it was not an attack on a particular server, but on the DNS server for this one group of systems. When you type in a URL or click on your link to open a site, the software in your computer does not know what the actual address of that particular site is, but must request that from a domain name server (DNS) which looks up the actual name and gets the IP (internet protocol) address so that your browser can connect to the site you are seeking.   In the attack we are describing here,  the DDoS focused on the DNS server - effectively blocking it from answering requests from many thousands of sites that were served by that portion of 1 and 1's server farm.  As of this time as we write, wednesday morning, December 10, 2014 this is all we know.

   I understand 1 and 1 is working to minimize the problem - this usually requires that they identify each attackers IP address and try to block these bad requests, but modern hackers often can mask their address, and will place DDoS attack software in other malware, adware or spyware - seeding the internet with it far and wide, then send instructions to it to start the attacks.  Several major websites have had DDoS attacks recently, and while it is illegal in most countries to do such, it is hard to track down and prosecute such attacks.  We have used 1 and 1 Internet for approximately 10 years and this is the first such attack that was bad enough to lose service for a noticeable time period. They are one of the largest systems for hosting websites and we have no doubt they will handle this to the best of the ability available to them.  We apologize for this recent outage and appreciate the patience of our clients and the general public. Thank you

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