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Blame the US, not China, for the recent surge in massive cyberattacks

The internet’s new scourge is hugely damaging global attacks that harness armies of routers, cameras, and other connected gadgets—the so-called Internet of Things (IoT)—to direct floods of traffic that can take down swaths of the network. The blame so far has largely fallen on the Chinese manufacturers who churn out devices with shoddy security on the cheap. But all those devices have to be plugged in somewhere for them to used maliciously. And American consumers are increasingly the ones plugging them in. Nearly a quarter of the internet addresses behind these distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks are located in the United States, newresearch from network services firm Akamai has found. Some 180,000 US IP addresses took part in DDoS attacks in the last quarter of 2016, it found—more than four times as many as addresses originating in China. Akamai’s findings are particularly notable because the armies of hacked devices that carry out DDoS attacks—such as those controlled by the Mirai malware—don’t bother covering their tracks. That means the IP addresses are far more likely to genuinely correspond to a location within a certain country, the report’s authors write. The findings also end an era of Chinese dominance in DDoS attacks. Over the previous year, China has accounted for the highest proportion of IP addresses taking part in such attacks globally. Now the US is the clear leader, accounting for 24% of such addresses. The UK and Germany are a distant second and third. (To be clear, though, wherever the attacking devices’ IP addresses are, the person controlling them could be located anywhere.) The huge number of devices taking part in DDoS attacks in the US means regulation there, and in Europe, could stem the flood of damaging traffic. Of course, IoT regulation is a thorny issue—essentially, no US federal agency really wants to take the problem on—and there remain technical questions over how to actually go about blocking the attacks. Still, it’s a lot clearer now that simply pointing the finger at China isn’t enough. Source: https://qz.com/912419/akamai-akam-report-a-quarter-of-ddos-ip-addresses-are-now-from-the-us/

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Blame the US, not China, for the recent surge in massive cyberattacks

Hong Kong securities brokers hit by cyber attacks, may face more: regulator

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s securities regulator said brokers in the city had suffered cyber attacks and warned of possible further incidents across the industry. Regulators in Hong Kong have been stepping up efforts over the past year to combat the growing menace of cyber attacks on companies. A survey in November showed the average number of such attacks detected by firms in mainland China and Hong Kong grew a whopping 969 percent between 2014 and 2016. [nL4N1DU35T] In a circular to licensed firms late on Thursday, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said it had been informed by the Hong Kong police that brokers had encountered so-called “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attacks targeting their websites and received blackmails from criminals. “The DDoS attacks have caused service disruption to the brokers for a short period. It is possible that similar cyber security incidents would be observed across the securities industry,” the SFC said in the notice. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, among the most common on the Internet, involve cyber criminals using hijacked and virus-infected computers to target websites with data requests, until they are overwhelmed and unable to function. The SFC urged firms in the financial center to implement protective measures, including reviews of the IT systems and DDoS mitigation plans. Source: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/hong-kong-securities-brokers-hit-cyber-attacks-may-043353386–sector.html

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Hong Kong securities brokers hit by cyber attacks, may face more: regulator

DDOS attacks intensify in EMEA

Distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region witnessed an uptick in the last quarter and are set to intensify in 2017. This is according to a report issued by F5 Networks, which revealed data from its Security Operations Centre (SOC), highlighting the growing scale and intensity of cyber attacks in the region. DDOS attacks have been around since at least 2000. These attacks refer to a situation in which many compromised machines flood a target with requests for information. The target can’t handle the onslaught of requests, so it crashes. Consultancy firm Deloitte also expects cyber attacks to enter the terabit era in 2017, with DDOS attacks becoming larger in scale, harder to mitigate and more frequent. F5 Networks points out that in 2016 to date, it has handled and mitigated 8 536 DDOS instances. The company notes that one of the attacks featured among the largest globally – a 448Gbps user datagram protocol (UDM) and Internet control message protocol (ICMP) fragmentation flood using over 100 000 IP addresses emanating from multiple regions. It explains the incident highlights a growing trend for global co-ordination to achieve maximum impact, with IP attack traffic stemming largely from Vietnam (28%), Russia (22%), China (21%), Brazil (15%) and the US (14%). “The EMEA Security Operations Centre has been experiencing rapid growth since launching in September last year, and it is entirely driven by the explosion of attacks across the region, as well as businesses realising they need to prepare for the worst,” says Martin Walshaw, senior engineer at F5 Networks. In Q1 (October – December), the SOC experienced a 100% increase in DDOS customers, compared to the same period last year. F5 Networks says UDP fragmentations were the most commonly observed type of DDOS attack in Q1 (23% of total), followed by domain name system reflections, UDP floods (both 15%), syn floods (13%) and NTP reflections (8%). “Given the rise and variety of new DDOS techniques, it is often unclear if a business is being targeted,” Walshaw says. “This is why it is more important than ever to ensure traffic is being constantly monitored for irregularities and that organisations have the measures in place to react rapidly. “The best way forward is to deploy a multi-layered DDOS strategy that can defend applications, data and networks. This allows detection of attacks and automatic action, shifting scrubbing duties from on-premises to cloud and back when business disruption from local or external sources is imminent at both the application and network layer.” Source: http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=158643

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DDOS attacks intensify in EMEA

2017 predictions: US isolationism, DDoS, data sharing

Without a doubt, 2016 was the year of the DDoS. The year came to a close with a major DDoS attack on DNS provider Dyn, which took down several major internet sites on the Eastern US seaboard. This attack was different – not so much in terms of its volume or its technique, but in the fact that instead of being directed at its intended target, it was targeted at network infrastructure used by the target. I think we are likely to see more DDoS attacks in 2017, both leveraging amplification attacks and direct traffic generated by the Internet of Things. However, we will also see a growing number of incidents in which not just the target experiences outages, but also the networks hosting the sources of the DDoS, as they also need to support significant outbound traffic volumes. This is likely to lead to increasing instability – until such a time as network operators start seeing DDoS as an issue they need to respond to. In this sense, the issue of DDoS is likely to increasingly self-correct over time. The other main trends and developments that I foresee for the year ahead are as follows: ? I think we are likely to see the first few cases where attribution of nation states accountable for attacks starts to backfire. Over the past few years, corporations and nation states have published a lot of theories on espionage campaigns. One issue with these incidents is the fact that often, contrary to human intelligence, the malware and tools that are used in these attacks leave the intent of the attack open to interpretation.  Was the goal to spy on the development of a country and its international relations?  Was it to steal information for economic gain?  Or was the attack intended to result in sabotage?  Those are the all-important questions that are not always easy to answer. The risk of one country inadvertently misunderstanding an attack, and taking negative action in response, is increasing. When a nation’s critical infrastructure suddenly fails, after the country has been publicly implicated in an attack, was it a counterattack or a simple failure? ? In the new policy environment being introduced by President-elect Donald Trump, there is some risk that the United States may start to withdraw from the international policy engagement that has become the norm in cyber security. This would be unfortunate. Cyber security is not purely a domestic issue for any country, and that includes the United States. Examples of great cyber security ideas hail from across the world. For instance, recent capture-the-flag competitions show that some of the best offensive cyber security talent hails from Taiwan, China and Korea. In addition, some tools such as Cyber Green, which tracks overall cyber health and makes international security measurable, originate in Japan rather than the United States. Withdrawing from international cooperation on cyber security will have a number of negative implications.  At a strategic level it is likely to lead to less trust between countries, and reduce our ability to maintain a good channel of communications when major breaches are uncovered and attributed.  At a tactical level it is likely to result in less effective technical solutions and less sharing around attacks. ? Meanwhile, across the pond, Presidential elections in France, a Federal election in Germany, and perhaps a new president taking power in Iran will all lead to more changes in the geopolitical arena. In the past, events of major importance such as these have typically brought an increase in targeted attack campaigns gathering intelligence (as widespread phishing) and exploiting these news stories to steal user credentials and distribute malware. ? Companies will become more selective about what data they decide to store on their users. Historically, the more data that was stored, the more opportunities there were for future monetisation. However, major data breaches such as we have seen at Yahoo! and OPM have highlighted that storing data can lead to costs that are quite unpredictable. Having significant data can result in your government requesting access through warrants and the equivalent of national security letters. It can also mean that you become the target of determined adversaries and nation states. We have started seeing smaller companies and services, such as Whisper Systems, move towards a model where little data is retained. Over time, my expectation is that larger online services will at least become a little bit more selective in the data they store, and their customers will increasingly expect it of them. ? We will see significant progress in the deployment of TLS in 2017. Let’s Encrypt, the free Certificate Authority, now enables anyone to enable TLS for their website at little cost. In addition, Google’s support for Certificate Transparency will make TLS significantly more secure and robust. With this increased use of encryption, though, will come additional scrutiny by governments, the academic cryptography community, and security researchers. We will see more TLS-related vulnerabilities appear throughout the year, but overall, they will get fixed and the internet will become a safer place as a result. ? I expect that 2017 will also be the year when the security community comes to terms with the fact that machine learning is now a crucial part of our toolkit. Machine learning approaches have already been a critical part of how we deal with spam and malicious software, but they have always been treated with some suspicion in the industry. This year it will become widely accepted that machine learning is a core component of most security tools and implementations. However, there is a risk here as well. As the scale of its use continues to grow, we will have less and less direct insight into the decisions our security algorithms and protocols make. As these new machine learning systems need to learn, rather than be reconfigured, we will see more false positives. This will motivate protocol implementers to “get things right” early and stay close to the specifications to avoid detection by overzealous anomaly detection tools. Source: http://www.itproportal.com/features/2017-predictions-us-isolationism-ddos-data-sharing/

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2017 predictions: US isolationism, DDoS, data sharing

Trump must focus on cyber security

When Donald Trump takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, he’ll face an urgent and growing threat: America’s vulnerability to cyberattack. Some progress has been made in fortifying the nation’s digital defenses. But the U.S. is still alarmingly exposed as it leaps into the digital age. If the 45th president wants to make America great again, he needs to address this growing insecurity. Three areas — energy, telecommunications and finance — are especially vital and vulnerable. The government must commit itself to defending them. And it must recognize that the risks posed to all three are increasing as more and more parts of our lives are connected to the Internet. Start with energy. There is already malware prepositioned in our national power grid that could be used to create serious disruptions. It must be cleaned up. Last December, three of Ukraine’s regional power-distribution centers were hit by cyberattacks that caused blackouts affecting at least 250,000 citizens. The U.S. is just as vulnerable, because the malware used in that attack is widespread and well placed here. It would be a federal emergency if any region or city were to lose power for an extended period, and it could easily happen — taking down much of our critical infrastructure in the process. The government historically has taken steps to ensure the availability of communications in an emergency (for instance, the 911 system). It should do the same for power. In particular, Trump should direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to use the Homeland Security Grant Program to improve cyber resilience at state and local power facilities. These efforts must be focused on removing malware and fielding better defenses, beginning with the highest-risk facilities crucial to the centers of our economic and political power. Next, protect telecommunications. The integrity our telecommunications system is essential for the free flow of goods, services, data and capital. Yet the U.S. is home to highest number of “botnets,” command-and-control servers and computers infected by ransomware in the world. Compromised computers are being used to launch paralyzing distributed denial of service (or DDoS) attacks against a wide range of companies. In October, such an attack knocked numerous popular services offline, including PayPal, Twitter, the New York Times, Spotify and Airbnb. Thousands of citizens and businesses were affected. To address this problem, the next president should start a national campaign to reduce the number of compromised computers plaguing our systems. This campaign should be managed like the Y2K program — the largely successful effort, led by the White House in tandem with the private sector, to fix a widespread computer flaw in advance of the millennium. With the same sense of urgency, the government should require that internet service providers give early warning of new infections and help their customers find and fix vulnerabilities. Just as water suppliers use chlorine to kill bacteria and add fluoride to make our teeth stronger, ISPs should be the front line of defense. Third, the U.S. must work with other countries to protect the global financial system. In recent years, financial institutions have experienced a wide range of malicious activity, ranging from DDoS attacks to breaches of their core networks, resulting in the loss of both money and personal information. In the past year, a number of breaches at major banks were caused by security weaknesses in the interbank messaging system known as SWIFT. The entire financial system is at risk until every connected institution uses better security, including tools to detect suspicious activities and hunt for the malicious software that enables our money to be silently stolen. The U.S. should work with China and Germany — the current and future leaders of the G-20 — to deploy better cyberdefenses, use payment-pattern controls to identify suspicious behavior and introduce certification requirements for third-party vendors to limit illicit activity. The Treasury Department should work with its global partners and U.S. financial institutions to set metrics and measure progress toward improving the trustworthiness and security of the financial ecosystem. All these problems, finally, may be exacerbated by the rise of the Internet of Things. As more and more devices are connected to the internet, it isn’t always clear who’s responsible for keeping them secure. Without better oversight, the Internet of Things will generate more botnets, command-and-control servers, and computers susceptible to ransomware. Flawed products will disrupt businesses, damage property and jeopardize lives. When medical devices can be subject to serious e-security flaws, and when vulnerable software in security cameras can be exploited to knock businesses off-line, government intervention is required. Manufacturers, retailers and others selling services and products with embedded digital technology must be held legally accountable for the security flaws of their wares. We need to put an end to the “patch Tuesday” approach of fixing devices after they’re widely dispersed. A better approach is an Internet Underwriters Laboratory, akin to the product-testing and certification system used for electrical appliances. Such a system could help ensure that internet-connected devices meet a minimum level of security before they’re released into the marketplace. Trump should make it clear in his first budget proposal that these four steps are vital priorities. The digital timer on our national security is ticking. Source: http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/commentary/trump-must-focus-on-cyber-security/article_0bc1d57c-c88f-11e6-840b-13562fd923b9.html

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Trump must focus on cyber security

Cybersecurity is threatening America’s military supremacy

The sparsely populated Spratly Islands, a collection of hundreds of islands and reefs spread over roughly 165,000 square miles in the South China Sea, are very quickly becoming the center of one of the most contentious international disputes between world powers since the fall of the Soviet Union. Alarmingly, the use of cyber attacks in this dispute suggests we might already be in the midst of a new Cold War playing out in cyberspace — where America’s advantage is not as clear as it is with conventional armies and navies. The Spratly Islands are of economic and strategic importance. All of the countries in the region — including China, Vietnam and the Philippines — have made competing territorial claims to the region. In recent years, China has become increasingly aggressive in its claim, rapidly building artificial islands while also conducting military operations in the area. Beyond this conventional military build up, however, are complex and brazen cyber attacks by China that are leaving America and its allies increasingly concerned. A massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack knocked offline at least 68 Philippine government websites in July, apparently in response to an international court ruling that denied China’s territorial claims in the region. Just days later, Vietnam’s national airline and major airports were targeted in a series of attacks by the Chinese hacking group 1937CN. Those are just the latest examples of China’s years long cyber campaign related to the Spratly Islands. (In another attack, the website of the aforementioned international court was infected with malware and taken offline last year.) While these “nuisance” attacks — and continued cyber espionage by China — are serious, targeted Chinese cyber attacks designed to impact America’s physical military systems in the South China Sea are the most substantial evidence that we may be on the brink of a more tangible cyber threat to American military power. China appears to be moving forward with plans to use electronic attacks designed to either disrupt or take control of American drones. With reports that the Chinese attempted to interfere with U.S. military drones at least once in recent years, the country has shown a willingness to use GPS jamming to prevent U.S. aircraft from conducting surveillance missions in the Spratly Islands. That 2015 instance appears to fit China’s public posturing on the ways it says it could use electronic GPS jamming to disrupt U.S. drone networks. One 2013 report in the Chinese journal  Aerospace Electronic Warfare  notes in technical detail how its military can “use network warfare to attack and even control America’s network” by disrupting the connection between satellites and aircraft. This sort of GPS jamming could be the largest electronic threat to the U.S. drone program. In fact, it has been widely speculated that Iran used a similar GPS “spoofing” technique to take control of a U.S. surveillance drone in 2011. The American military says it is preparing for these sorts of attacks with its new cyber strategy released last year. In addition to outlining how cyber will be included in military planning, the report calls for a hardening of the military’s cyber defenses to prevent the theft of military technology or cyber attacks against military infrastructure and weaponry. The challenge, as any expert in the cybersecurity world would tell you, is that the capabilities and sophistication of the Chinese, Russians and other state-sponsored and non-state hackers are increasing exponentially. One only has to read the news to see nearly daily evidence of this (e.g. the recent suspected NSA breech, hacks targeting Democratic political organizations, the attack against the State Department’s email system or the theft of military intel in the OPM hack). The relatively inexpensive cyber options being employed today by both state and non-state hacking groups make it an incredibly efficient “leveler” of power. A small group of hackers using simple spear-phishing tactics, for example, can have massive impact on military installations, government operations, critical infrastructure and potentially even weapons systems. The unconventional battle playing out in the South China Sea — where cyber attacks are taking the place of conventional fighting and other forms of diplomacy — is a new model of warfare. The growing cyber threat from China may pose the most immediate threat to America and its allies because, while the U.S. continues to have a clear conventional military advantage, our advantage in cyber is not as clear. Source: https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/21/cybersecurity-is-threatening-americas-military-supremacy/

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Cybersecurity is threatening America’s military supremacy

Researcher believes major DDoS attacks part of military recon to shut down internet

Security researcher Bruce Schneier spotted a series of DDoS attacks which may be part of a larger effort to learn how to take down the internet on a national or even global scale. The attacks targeted major companies that provide the basic infrastructure for the internet and the incidents seem to appear to have probed the companies’ defenses to determine how well they can protect themselves, according to a Sept. 13 blog post. Schneier said he is unable to give details concerning which companies were targeted because he spoke with the companies under anonymity, but said the attack rate has increased in the last two years and that his findings are supported by a Verisign DDoS trends report. Schneier told SCMagazine.com he believes the attacks are part a foreign cyber organization doing military recon activities. The attacks are believed to be from China, but that being said Schneier said he is hesitant to point the blame at anyone. So far the targeted companies have been able to defend themselves, but when it comes to actually being able to take down the internet, Schneier said, “it does seem you can do it for small amounts of time but not permanently.” Some other experts agree. Several countries have a history of using DDoS attacks to target the U.S. and other nations so it’s safe to say that if taking down the internet will improve one’s position as a world power, someone will try to do it, Plixer CEO Michael Patterson told SCMagazine.com via emailed comments. “Consider the past attacks on our utilities and our 911 system and you can begin to appreciate the possibility of a combination of attacks that would certainly be possible with DDoS technologies,” Patterson said. “Our government needs to develop and implement a full scale back-up in the event that any one of these world players are successful in taking down the Internet.” Patterson said so much of the U.S. economy depends on the internet that its critical to have an alternative communication and digital plan in place in case something happens. However, some industry pros expressed doubt that an attacker would be able to carry out such a large scale attack. While the size, duration, and sophistication of DDoS attacks continue to grow, a complete shutdown is unlikely, Tim Matthews, Imperva Incapsula VP of marketing,  told SCMagazine.com via emailed comments. “Attacks might present temporary regional slowdowns – and annoy customers – but certainly not cause a global Internet blackout, as Mr. Schneier suggests,” Matthews said. “And with proper DDoS protections in place, most attacks like these would be stopped in their tracks.” Source: http://www.scmagazine.com/infrastructure-ddos-attacks-could-be-part-of-larger-plan-to-shut-down-internet-on-massive-scale/article/522962/

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Researcher believes major DDoS attacks part of military recon to shut down internet

DOSarrest Expands Into Second City in Asia

DOSarrest Expands Into Second City in Asia VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – Aug. 30, 2016) –  DOSarrest Internet Security announced today that they have expanded their DDoS protection cloud in Asia, with a new DDoS mitigation node in Hong Kong. The new node will work in conjunction with their existing nodes in New York, Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Vancouver and will have the same connectivity as the others, including multiple 10 Gb/Sec uplinks to multiple carriers. Mark Teolis, CEO at DOSarrest says, “This new Hong Kong scrubbing center will have excellent connectivity in the region including multiple Chinese upstream providers. To compliment the 6 upstream providers there will be an additional 10Gb/Sec link into the Hong Kong Internet Exchange (HKiX) for even better route diversity. Our customers have asked for it and we are delivering” Teolis adds, “Having great connectivity into China allows us to offer our customers great performance using our caching engine and also more importantly it allows us to stop attacks closer to the source if need be.” Jag Bains, CTO at DOSarrest states, “This new Hong Kong node is part of our global capacity expansion that includes, new hardware in all existing locations, plus the addition of 100+ Gb/Sec of Internet capacity. We need this in order to offer some new services that we will be rolling out in 2017.” About DOSarrest Internet Security: DOSarrest founded in 2007 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada is one of only a couple of companies worldwide to specialize in only cloud based DDoS protection services. Additional Web security services offered are Cloud based  W eb  A pplication  F irewall (WAF) ,  V ulnerability  T esting and  O ptimization  (VTO) as well as  cloud based global load balancing . More information at  www.DOSarrest.com CONTACT INFORMATION Media Contact: Jenny Wong Toll free CAD/US 1-888-818-1344 ext. 205 UK Freephone 0800-016-3099 ext. 205 CR@DOSarrest.com Source: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/-2154179.htm

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DOSarrest Expands Into Second City in Asia

DDoS Attacks Increase 200%; UK Now Second Most Targeted Nation

DDoS attacks have increased by over 200% in the last year, according to new research from Imperva. The uptick in attacks has been attributed to DDoS-for-hire services, the company said. DDoS attacks are now among the most common cyber threats businesses can face, according to Imperva. Between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 it recorded an average of 445 attacks targeting its customers per week. More than 40% of customers affected were targeted more than once, and 16% were hit more than five times. The majority of attacks noted by Imperva targeted the application layer, making up 60% of all DDoS attacks. The remainder targeted the network layer. However, Imperva noted that the number of application layer attacks are trending downwards, dropping by 5% year over year. If that trend continues, network layer attacks could be just as common as application layer ones before too long. The most recent quarter covered by this report shows a big jump in the size of network layer attacks. The biggest recorded attack was 470 Gbps, while many others exceeded 200 Gbps. Imperva now says attacks of this size are a “regular occurrence.” These increases in DDoS attacks have been attributed to DDoS-for-hire services, where anyone can pay as little as $5 to launch a minute-long DDoS attack on a target of their choice. This means attacks can be launched by just about anyone—whether it’s because of a grudge against a particular company or just boredom. These now account for 93% of DDoS attacks, up from 63.8% in Q2 2015. Imperva says this has directly led to the increase in overall DDoS numbers. Another clue to an increase in DDoS-for-hire services and what Imperva calls “casual offenders” is a decrease in attack complexity. Starting in Q2 2015 the company recorded a decrease in multi-vector attacks; attacks using multiple vectors and payloads indicate a more sophisticated, complex attack. However, Q1 2016 saw an increase in the volume of assaults using five or more payloads. “This countertrend reminds us that—in parallel with the increased “hobbyist” activity—more capable cyber-criminals continue to improve their methods. As per the first rule of the DDoS mitigation industry, attacks continue to get larger and more sophisticated on the high-end of the scale,”  the report said . The report also examined where DDoS attacks generally emerge from. Once again, China tops the list, with a sharp increase recorded in South Korea. The excellent broadband infrastructure in the country enables attacks to easily launch effective attacks, Imperva said. The UK is now the world’s second most-attacked country, after the United States of America. Most attacks targeted small and medium businesses, but some bigger institutions, including the  BBC  and  HSBC , were hit as well. Source: http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/ddos-attacks-increase-200/

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DDoS Attacks Increase 200%; UK Now Second Most Targeted Nation