A “distributed denial of service” attack – or what security gurus call a DDoS attack – is a little like what happens to Groundhog.org on Groundhog Day.
For 364 days out of the year, nobody cares about groundhog fun facts. And then on Groundhog Day-BOOM! Third-graders, Bill Murray fans and TV weather newscasters flock to the site to see what the sleepy, plague-resistant, 15-pound creature’s shadow might mean for the winter’s forecast.
For years, Groundhog.org would inevitably crash on the only day every year that Americans care most about their groundhogs.
The same is true for a Web site undergoing a DDoS attack. For most days of the year, a site can accommodate a predictable flow of traffic. But flood it with unexpected traffic for a day and you’ll knock it offline. In the last month, DDoS attacks have crashed the Web sites of the Central Intelligence Agency, Citigroup, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the White House. The Shadowserver Foundation, which tracks botnets, witnessed more than 300 DDoS attacks across the Web last Tuesday alone.
via NYT Bits, continued here.