Flight Radar spokesman Ian Petchenik told The Register: “At this time we understand this to be a very strong DDoS attack [orchestrated] from a single source. While it is not known why we’re being targeted, multiple flight tracking services have suffered attacks over the past two days.”
It was not immediately obvious which other sites had suffered attacks, though some had used their Twitter accounts to inform followers of planned server upgrades and updates to end-user apps.
Open source researchers claim to have picked up the live flight tracks of drones over Armenia and Azerbaijan, following armed skirmishes between the two nations over the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The conflict gained a more international dimension earlier today when a Turkish F-16 fighter jet reportedly shot down an elderly Armenian Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft.
Another day, another #drone.
Turkish drone carrying out surveillance flights over Iraqi Kurdistan in areas with PKK activities. pic.twitter.com/AOMLXXqjVl
— Wim Zwijnenburg (@wammezz) September 25, 2020
The use of DDoSes against general-interest websites has fallen out of favour in recent years as the script kiddies behind those types of attacks in days of yore a) grew up and b) realised that ransomware is far more lucrative than crayoning over someone else’s website.
With that said, such attacks are still in use: in August someone malicious forced the New Zealand stock exchange offline, while encrypted email biz Tutanota suffered a spate of similar attacks earlier this month.
Whatever the cause of the Flight Radar 24 attacks – one knowledgeable source suggested to El Reg that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict may have triggered a government determined to control what the wider world can see – they serve as a reminder that even one of the oldest online attack methods can still cause chaos today.