Let’s establish one thing immediately. Despite the shock journalism and uneducated claims out there saying that the internet attack was so severe that it almost break, the reality is this. It was a big hit that was felt by a lot of people. That’s it. It would be like saying that a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit a big city. Sure, there was probably a lot of damage depending on which city it was, but at no point during or after the earthquake was the entire planet about to explode.
The DDoS attack that has been hitting Spamhaus, an anti-spam non-profit, has been nothing short of historic. At its peak it hit 300gbs, over three times the largest recorded attack in 2010. Many website were slowed down as a result of this attack much in the way that a clogged off ramp can affect the traffic on a highway itself, but at no point was the internet on the verge of collapse.
With that out of the way, it’s important to understand what was truly significant about this attack. By all accounts, this seems to have been a well-coordinated grudge attack. In other words, one company didn’t like the status that Spamhaus was giving them or the power that they wield so they decided to try to teach them a lesson. When the website didn’t go down, they pushed harder. Then they pushed harder again. They continued to push harder until we got to historic levels of DDoS power.
To put it into perspective, some of the most secure systems on the internet such as banks and governments themselves could go down at 1/7th the pressure applied to Spamhaus.
The real scary part is that it happened. It’s terrifying, not that the internet “almost went down” but that someone with a grudge could affect global internet traffic speeds. That’s not good. What if it was better coordinated? What if it wasn’t a web host with beef against someone but rather a government or malicious entity intent to take down more than a spam prevention company?
What if someone got serious about this stuff? That’s the real fear that this attack demonstrates. It’s been happening for a week, the most impressive failed DDoS attack in history, and we still have no idea where it originated or how to stop it. THAT is what should be concerning us right now.* * *”DDoS” image courtesy of Shutterstock.