F.B.I. Memos Reveal Cost of a Hacking Attack

F.B.I. Memos Reveal Cost of a Hacking Attack
F.B.I. Memos Reveal Cost of a Hacking Attack

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The New York Times
December 14, 2010

Repelling a hacker attack can be costly as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard 
undoubtedly found out last week as they tried =E2=80=93 with mixed success =E2=80=93 to 
keep their Web sites from being knocked offline by supporters of 

How much money exactly? An unrelated attack several years earlier on 
Google may provide some insight.

In 2005 Google was battling the Santy worm, a bit of malicious software 
that caused infected computers across the globe to automatically enter 
search queries =E2=80=93 so many, in fact, that Google was overwhelmed. Details 
of the episode are chronicled in internal F.B.I. memos obtained by The 
New York Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

On Dec. 22, 2005, Google complained to the F.B.I. that the attack had 
slowed its search engine=E2=80=99s performance. For 12 to 18 months previous, 
Google said it had been plagued by variants of the worm, which used 
search queries to find vulnerable Web sites and deface them by 
exploiting a security hole in community forum software PHP Bulletin 


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