Dutch experts call for national DDoS defense tools

ING bank's online services were unavailable for a short time due to a DDoS attack, 30 Jan 2018
ING bank's online services were unavailable for a short time due to a DDoS attack, 30 Jan 2018Photo: ING Nederland / @ingnl / Twitter

The Dutch government and businesses in the Netherlands need to work together to create a kind of national firewall to protect important websites and apps against DDoS attacks, five experts in digital security plead in an open letter, NOS reports.

Currently banks, telecom providers, energy companies and other businesses all individually hire security companies to help prevent such cyber attacks. But that is not enough to stop these types of attacks, the experts warn. If they worked together, they could prevent an attack one one company from having success at another company.

In a DDoS attack a website is bombarded with large amounts of traffic, which crashes the site's server and makes the site inaccessible to other users. According to the experts in the open letter, the strength of DDoS attacks are only increasing. "They're reaching a terabit per second", Cristian Hesselman, head of the research department at SIDN, the organization that manages the .nl domain, said to NOS. He is one of the experts who signed the letter. A terabit is enough data to allow 200 thousand people to simultaneously watch a Netflix series in high quality.

A DDoS attack can have a massive impact, Jeroen van der Ham, another signee and researcher into internet security at the University of Twente, said to the broadcaster. Companies that are important to society, like banks, telecom companies, governments and the energy sector, therefore need to work together, the experts argue. Sharing information, such as IP addresses where DDoS attacks come from or the type of data a site is bombarded with, is an important first step. 

The National Cyber Security Center agrees that DDoS attacks are a major concern. "We also see that they are becoming more and more sophisticated", spokesperson Anna Sophia Posthumus said to NOS. She can't say whether the Center will play a role in the 'DDoS firewall', but calls it a good plan.