Service Operations Denied, Says Google And Others

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On Wednesday, Google, Amazon, and Cloudflare announced that they were hit by the largest-known denial of service attack, which they successfully weathered. The companies have also raised an alarm over a new technique that could cause widespread disruption. Google Cloud Services parried an avalanche of rogue traffic, which was more than seven times the size of the previous record-breaking attack that they thwarted last year. Cloudflare stated that the attack was thrice as large as any previous attack it had encountered. Amazon Web Services also confirmed being hit by a new type of distributed denial of service (DDoS) event. The attack began in late August and was still ongoing according to Google.


Denial of service is the most straightforward and fundamental form of web attack. It works by overwhelming targeted servers with bogus requests for data, making it impossible for legitimate web traffic to get through. As the online world has developed, so too has the power of denial of service operations, which can generate millions of bogus requests per second. The recent attacks measured by Google, Cloudflare, and Amazon were capable of generating hundreds of millions of requests per second.


The attackers took advantage of a weakness in HTTP/2, which is a newer version of the HTTP network protocol that underpins the World Wide Web. It makes servers particularly vulnerable to rogue requests, which can lead to widespread disruption if not countered successfully. The companies urged organizations to update their web servers to ensure that they do not remain vulnerable.


The attack was so massive that Google reported that only two minutes of one such attack “generated more requests than the total number of article views reported by Wikipedia during the entire month of September 2023.” Cloudflare said the attack was of a magnitude that “has never been seen before.” None of the three companies said who was responsible for the denial of service attacks, which have historically been difficult to pin down.


In 2016, an attack attributed to the “Mirai” network of hijacked devices hit domain name service Dyn, disrupting a swathe of high-profile websites. Therefore, it is crucial to remain vigilant and take appropriate measures to prevent such attacks.

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