6 Sep 2014

Spark rethinking defences after attack

10:53 pm on 6 September 2014

Telecommunications company Spark says it is rethinking its defences after an online attack from overseas started crippling its internet users.

Spark's website showing problems with its network on Saturday night.

Spark's website showing problems with its network on Saturday night. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The company has blamed the problems on a malware attack from overseas at about 8pm last night.

Spark New Zealand chief operating officer David Havercroft said the malware causes a huge spike in the number of messages sent from a computer, once it is downloaded, and this slows down and can even cut off access to the internet.

"They are targeting customers who are predominantly fibre customers, so we've got like 30 times the bandwith and speed than a traditional copper broadband customer would have, so it's having a massive multiple of messages that then just seems to slow up other domains and other services across the networks."

Mr Havercroft could not say when the attacks would be stopped.

"We make a change, whoever is trying to put through the malware is watching the implications and trying to also adjust their attack as well. So it is quite difficult for me to say 'it will be over by...'"

The company said there had been some improvement in mobile and broadband browsing late this afternoon.

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