Suspected hacker attack on Eircom internet service


MANY OF Eircom’s 500,000 internet subscribers have been left offline or experienced delays in web browsing at times this week because of a suspected attack by hackers.

Some customers who tried to connect to popular sites such as RTÉ, Facebook or Bebo were redirected to incorrect websites, often displaying images of advertising or scantily clad women.

The company blamed the problems on “an unusual and irregular volume of internet traffic” directed at its website, which affected the systems and servers that provide access to the internet for its customers.

Internet discussion groups speculated that the problems were caused by a hacker accessing Eircom’s domain name server (DNS) system through a denial-of-service attack.

This involves a target site being saturated with messages and requests to the point it can no longer function properly.

The Eircom spokesman said it was too early to say whether the problems were caused by hackers. Although unable to say what the cause of the problem was, he said the company believed it had now rectified matters.

RTÉ said it was concerned at what had happened and had raised the matter with senior management at Eircom. “However, we understand that RTÉ.ie was not specifically targeted and that it is a more widespread issue on Eircom’s network.”

The Eircom spokesman said it had taken a number of steps, including software updates and hardware interventions, to restore full internet service.

He also rejected claims that the company had failed to inform customers, saying a notice was put up on the website yesterday.