Attacks begin on net address flaw
Attack code that exploits flaws in the net's addressing system are starting to circulate online, say security experts.
The code could be a boon to phishing gangs who redirect web users to fake bank sites and steal login details.
In light of the news net firms are being urged to apply a fix for the loop-hole before attacks by hi-tech criminals become widespread.
Net security groups say there is anecdotal evidence that small scale attacks are already happening.
"We are in a lot of trouble," said security guru Dan Kaminsky who found the flaw in the net's Domain Name System (DNS) in March 2008.
"This attack is very good," he said. "This attack is being weaponised out in the field. Everyone needs to patch, please."
The DNS acts as the net's address system and helps computers translate the website names people use, such as bbc.co.uk, into the numerical equivalents preferred by machines.
If exploited the flaw would allow malicious hackers to direct people to fake sites even if that user typed in the correct address for the place they wanted to visit.
Now security researchers have come up with two separate methods for attacking the flaw.
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