[Greennet-l] GreenNet service update 4 October 2013

GreenNet Support support at gn.apc.org
Fri Oct 4 18:16:47 BST 2013



4 October 2013*

Dear GreenNet friends     

We would like to update you on the GreenNet service outage at the
beginning of August, and some of the things we are doing about it.

The initial cause was a powerful “distributed denial of service” attack
(DDoS) intended to silence a particular journalistic website that we
host. For most of 1 August, the attack also took down our upstream
provider, who supplies us with the connections between our server and
other internet networks. The suppliers isolated our systems to protect
theirs for the following four days, which prolonged the outage and
disruption, although during part of that time we were able to keep an
emergency email service running elsewhere.

Unfortunately, all providers in this field are commercial companies and
subject to commercial pressures, although our main supplier has since
improved their resilience to this type of “UDP reflection” attack.
However, now that we have a more complete picture of the crisis we can
see that it is not acceptable to continue relying on services provided
by a single company that will sacrifice our networks and thousands of
users to protect their commercial interests.

Once our services were restored and the precise DDoS target website had
been isolated on a server elsewhere, we managed to keep that website
mostly online despite the assault continuing for over a month. We have
achieved this without any adverse effects on the rest of our network.
Although we now have good intelligence on the originators of the attack,
the international nature of such cyber-crime makes it almost impossible
for any formal identification or prosecution to be successful. The owner
of the target site does not yet want it identified but it is likely to
be revealed in time.

Clearly service reliability is at the heart of what we do. We are keenly
aware that you depend on it for the work that you do. Balancing our
users' needs for confidentiality and data protection, and for
uninterrupted web and email access, is fundamental to GreenNet's purpose
and ethos. We are completely committed to maintaining email, web and
internet services that are reliable and professional as well as secure
and independent.

Despite all the grief that was inflicted on and borne by our users, the
messages of support and sympathy that we received were massive and
overwhelming. What a wonderful community we are part of! Rather than
users leaving in droves, the mutuality of feeling and purpose that was
demonstrated has given us even more strength to continue in our work.
Offers of assistance have been very gratefully received, resulting in
very positive developments for a significant improvement in services.

We are now engaged in a programme of technical improvements to
strengthen our systems' protection against any further potential
attacks. The next stage is for a completely new hosting facility with
enhanced levels of DDoS protection and increased upstream bandwidth,
together with a 100% renewable energy supply, which until now has been
difficult to obtain in the central London area. This stage, although
involving considerable work, will be in place before the Autumn is out.
The move will involve a few hours of service disruption over one night,
although we will of course strive to minimise this. Once we have a date
for this maintenance, most likely near the end of October, we will send
another message on this email list with further details. The vast
majority of people using GreenNet email and web services need make no
changes to their settings. There will be a a change of IP address for
our servers, about which we will notify the few people likely to be
affected nearer the time.

We are also working to improve redundancy in our systems without undue
cost, so that we are not dependent on a single possible point of
failure, and will be working with other human rights and free-expression
organisations to defend content that may be attacked in a way that does
not compromise reliability to others. We also realise that during the
crisis our communications to you, the people who depend on us, was
sporadic and will particularly be looking at ways of improving this in
our contingency planning.

We value all comments from GreenNet members, negative or positive, so
please do inform us of any problems you experience or suggestions for

With all best wishes

Andrew, Anna, Cedric, Howard, Ian, Liz, Marek, Michael and Sarah

      GreenNet is the ethical Internet Service Provider that has been
      connecting people and groups who work for peace, the environment,
      gender equality and human rights since 1986.

We hope that you are happy to receive our newsletter. If not,
unsubscribe here
<http://mailman.greennet.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/greennet-l> and you
will not receive it in future.

GreenNet, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT.
Tel (UK): 0845 055 4011 Tel (int'l): +44 (0)20 7065 0935
Fax: +44 (0)20 7253 2658. Email: info+n at gn.apc.org <mailto:info at gn.apc.org>

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman.greennet.org.uk/pipermail/greennet-l/attachments/20131004/eebd19cd/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: image/gif
Size: 5316 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://mailman.greennet.org.uk/pipermail/greennet-l/attachments/20131004/eebd19cd/attachment.gif>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 263 bytes
Desc: OpenPGP digital signature
URL: <http://mailman.greennet.org.uk/pipermail/greennet-l/attachments/20131004/eebd19cd/attachment.pgp>

More information about the Greennet-l mailing list