GoDaddy.com Down: What is a DDOS Attack?

Written by Mike Awada on . Posted in Business, Domains

Godaddy.com

Courtesy of GoDaddy.com

As you may or may not have heard, the world’s “number one domain registrar” and one of the Alexa top 100 websites in the world, Godaddy.com, has been down for several hours. Not only that, most of the 35 million websites and e-mail accounts hosted with GoDaddy have been inaccessible as well.

It’s been speculated that the takedown occurred at the hands of a hacker or group of hackers, potentially associated with the infamous Anonymous group. This individual or group unleashed what’s called a DDOS or distributed denial of service attack on GoDaddy. The debacle begs the question: what exactly is a DDOS attack and how does it happen?

A DDOS attack is essentially a malicious flood of web traffic into one certain site, overwhelming the servers with visiting traffic and rendering them inoperable.

If the bombardment was coming from just one source, the attack could be thwarted as the particular IP address could be blocked; but experienced hackers are able to send information packets from thousands or potentially hundreds of thousands of different sources, making it difficult for the GoDaddy technical team to distinguish where the malicious attack is coming from. The DDOS attack is successful because it’s extremely difficult to distinguish between legitimate incoming traffic and fault traffic designed to bring a site down.

All technical jargon aside, here’s a quick and educational video on DDOS attacks produced by GoDaddy rivals, Name.com.

Global organizations both big and small have undoubtedly experienced losses in profit and productivity from this escapade. How a multi-billion dollar corporation like GoDaddy could allow something like this to happen is beyond any of us, but the damage has been done. Except some heavy-duty damage control to occur in the next few days.

Update: GoDaddy released this message on their website regarding the shutdown of their site and associated sites for six hours yesterday:

Go Daddy Site Outage Investigation Completed

Yesterday, GoDaddy.com and many of our customers experienced intermittent service outages starting shortly after 10 a.m. PDT. Service was fully restored by 4 p.m. PDT.

The service outage was not caused by external influences. It was not a “hack” and it was not a denial of service attack (DDoS). We have determined the service outage was due to a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables. Once the issues were identified, we took corrective actions to restore services for our customers and GoDaddy.com. We have implemented measures to prevent this from occurring again.

At no time was any customer data at risk or were any of our systems compromised.

Throughout our history, we have provided 99.999% uptime in our DNS infrastructure. This is the level our customers expect from us and the level we expect of ourselves. We have let our customers down and we know it.

We take our business and our customers’ businesses very seriously. We apologize to our customers for these events and thank them for their patience.

- Scott Wagner Go Daddy Interim CEO

Who/what do you believe?


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  • Trekkie

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    Hmmm, who do you believe? Which is worse, an internal error that should have been prevented with a back-up plan or an random attack. I guess it feels better to believe your privacy was never at risk. I liked the video illustration of a DDOS attack but they didn’t explain how to prevent the attack or how to be ready, is it possible to defend yourself?

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