Raspberry Pi Foundation hit by grudge DDoS attack

Hands off the Pi

The tiny Raspberry Pi Foundation website and forum has been hit by two short but nasty DDoS attacks in the last week, the second attack flurry that has targeted the organisation since last summer, staff have confirmed.

The first botnet attack that disrupted the site for an hour on the afternoon of 3 March was described as "grimly familiar" after a spate of similar SYN flood bombardments last summer.

Although not massive by DDoS standards - about 100kbps - the Foundation's ISP reacted in orthodox fashion by swapping DNS servers, which the probably automated attack didn't adjust to.

The attackers then came back for another bite on 5 March before eventually giving up after a couple of hours.

The scale and size of the attacks is probably less significant than the fact that a small non-commercial Foundation could be the target of a grudge attack in the first place.

But having invented the most famous computer to emerge from Britain in a generation, the Raspberry Pi Foundation isn't any small non-commercial organisation as far as outsiders are concerned.

DDoS attacks are utterly routine but based on the description offered by staff this one looks as if it had more conscious design.

"We had a little flurry of SYN attacks last summer; but when the people on the other end of the botnet realised they weren't having much luck knocking raspberrypi.org over they decided to target some Raspberry Pi fan sites," said Rasperberry Pi Foundation spokesperson, Liz Upton.

"[They] ended up focusing especially on a group of teenagers who were running a 48-hour Python hackathon to try to raise some money for our charity."

After being overwhelmed at first, the youngsters treated the DDoS defence as a learning experience and fended off the attack, she said.

The Foundation received no blackmail demand and has assumed the attacks are the work of a "lone sociopath."

"It's uncomfortable knowing you've attracted this sort of attention; we're pretty confident we've not done anything to outrage the blackhat community," said Upton.

Although the organisation's website isn't used as a sales channel it is an important starting point for the computer's million-strong user base, as well as hosting its busy developer and user forum.

"It's sad to see the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity with a good cause at its heart, has been the focus of a vicious attack," commented Arbor Networks channel director, Jeremy Nicholls.

"The explosion of inexpensive and readily-accessible attack tools is enabling almost anybody to carry out DDoS attacks."

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Personal TechsecurityRaspberry Pi Foundation

More about Arbor Networks

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John E Dunn

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place