Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Penny Auctions Under Siege

Last night BidRodeo informed us hackers were attacking their site. This is the second time in about a week BidRodeo has experienced a cyber attack according to BidRodeo's Weronika Cybulska. Apparently there have been no interruptions to bidding this time, however during the last attack on September 8th, the site experienced delays. During that outage Bidrodeo honored all ended auctions and also refunded all bids to losing bidders, Cybulska said.

Penny Auction Watch also reported that Rocky Bid was under attack about a week ago. All of the attacks appear to be denial-of-service (DOS) attacks where hackers flood a target's servers with so many requests for information that most or all of the server's bandwidth is consumed. During a DOS attack legitimate users either cannot access the target site or experience a dramatically slower connection. If anyone tried to read the Michael Jackson death story on the LA Times or New York Times websites in the first 30 minutes after the news broke, you know what it feels like to try to access content on a site that is overloaded with requests for data. The good news is that these penny auction site hackers are not trying to steal personal information, just temporarily disrupt access to the site.

DOS attacks are fairly common and Google, Facebook and Twitter have all recently been attacked. Twitter, which is notoriously cheap on bandwidth, was down for hours after the attack while Google experienced only minor interruptions.

Cybulska said she didn't know why BidRodeo was being attacked, but suspected it might be a user who is trying to eliminate the competition in order to win an item on the cheap. It might also be a competing site trying to get users to defect.

Penny Auction Insider will continue to report on DOS attacks to penny auction sites and provide updates when sites are under attack.

Steven Seagal was unavailable for comment on this article.

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