NHL Confirms Web Site Attack



The National Hockey League today confirmed that the recent relaunch of its Web site (http://www.nhl.com) was iced this week by a distributed denial-of-service attack. The revamped puck portal debuted May 19, but it was inaccessible most of the week. NHL IT workers joined forces with their Web-site host, Pathworks, and bandwidth provider AT&T to thwart the attack by midday Thursday, says Grant Nodine, manager of technical and Web operations of NHL Interactive CyberEnterprises. That was accomplished by having network routers filter out bogus request packets.

The timing couldn't have been worse as the NHL is nearing the end of its playoff run. The league alerted the FBI and other security forces, and it says it will do its best to see that the offenders get the penalty box. Denial-of-service attacks overwhelm Web sites or the WAN pipes that feed them with a flood of requests from so-called zombie servers that are unwitting accomplices to the crime.

The attack also made it difficult to update content on the news portal, an NHL spokeswoman said. She said some site capabilities, such as instant polls, were experiencing problems as late as Thursday evening. The attack began on May 21 but was not detected until the following day. Denial-of-service attacks gained notoriety in February when Yahoo, eBay, E-Trade, Amazon.com, and other well-known sites were hit almost simultaneously.

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