By now, almost everyone has at least heard or seen the term DDoS. Unless you’re fairly geeky, however, you might not know what a distributed denial-of-service attack is or how one works. Even if you are a dyed-in-the-wool geek, chances are you don’t know what a DDoS attack looks like.
Thanks to the security staff at VideoLan, developers of the highly popular VLC media player, you can now catch a glimpse. This is what it’s like to be on the receiving end:
According to VideoLan’s Ludovic Fauvet, the servers at get.videolan.org have been dealing with around 400 requests every second. A pattern was quickly identified in the attacks, however, which allowed Fauvet and his teammates to cut the bad guys off at the pass.
By singling out a common user agent, they’ve been able to tweak Nginx to leave those connections lingering in limbo. Right now, the DDoS requests aren’t accomplishing anything more than generating HTTP 403 errors.
Prior to fortifying their defenses, the VideoLan crew was seeing around 200 downloads of VLC every second — which totalled nearly 30Gbps. Here’s a quick comparative: the massive DDoS that took down Wikipedia was pushing about 10 gigabits every second.
So who’s behind the attack on VideoLan and what’s the motivation? That’s not known just yet, but thankfully the team in France should be able to plug away in the interim. They won’t let something like a DDoS stand in the way of delivering that fancy, new Windows 8 app to their backers.
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