Online broker hit by denial-of-service attack

National Discount Brokers Group in Jersey City, N.J., said its Web site, ndb.com, was down for nearly two hours yesterday, the apparent victim of a denial-of-service attack.

Dennis Marino, chairman of New York-based National Discount Brokers (NDB), a subsidiary of the New Jersey firm, said customers didn't have access to the site from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EST. However, he said automated telephone trading was still available and customers were also able to talk to NDB representatives.

According to Marino, technicians noticed that the site was running slower than normal yesterday morning and decided to perform diagnostics tests to determine the cause.

Through those tests, Marino said, technicians uncovered two Internet locations that were bombarding the site with an inordinate amount of traffic. Then, in an attempt to do a work-around, technicians inadvertently caused the site to come down, he said.

Marino declined to name the location of the two computers that were sending the traffic to NDB's Web site. But he said the company had turned all the information over to the FBI, which is investigating other recent denial-of-service attacks, including those against Santa Clara, Calif.-based Yahoo Inc., San Jose-based eBay Inc., Seattle-based Amazon.com, Atlanta-based CNN.com and Palo Alto, Calif.-based ETrade Group Inc..

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