Google's Project Shield to shield news websites from DDoS attacks

Google has launched Project Shield, a free service to guard news websites and human rights forums from DDoS attacks which peaked last year in terms of frequency.

The launch follows a major DDoS attack in January which took down BBC's website and iPlayer TV platform and made #BBCDown the top trending topic globally.

BBC's website and iPlayer brought down by latest DDoS attack

"Every day, independent news, human rights, and election monitoring sites around the world are taken offline and silenced by attacks on their servers. Project Shield uses Google’s technology to protect websites at risk and keep them online," says the Project Shield website.

Via Project Shield, Google offers to reverse proxy the traffic of select websites to re-rout them through its cloud platform. This way, it will be very very hard for hackers to shut them down compared to standalone websites. To shut a website down, hackers will need to destabilize the cloud which is a near impossible feat to achieve.

Google will offer this free service to news websites, those run by human rights activists as well as election monitoring websites which are usually subjected to attacks by political groups, countries or malafide hackers.

DDoS attack on BBC website was 'only a test,' say hackers

However, if Project Shield is implemented, it will not be possible for anyone to access these websites in countries where Google's IP addresses are blocked, and the fate of their publishers will rest on how well Google will be able to protect the cloud platform.

Google's offering comes at a time when DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly rampant and disruptive. Most forms of DDoS attacks, as per The Register, are available at cheap rates and anyone ranging from political parties, competitors, rival online gamers and egoistic hackers can launch them with impunity, either to harm the victim financially or to cause loss of face.

Moonfruit bears the brunt as DDoS attackers find new target

December was a great month for hackers who initiated DDoS attacks for fun. The first week of the festive month saw a dedicated and successful DDoS attack on Network Janet which controls the domains of major universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, the Universities of Essex, Paisley and Glasgow.

Later in the month, Moonfruit, the oldest identikit website creator, went down thanks to a spate of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, taking with it thousands of websites owned by small businesses and start-ups. What was startling and least reassuring for subscribers was that Moonfruit's own website went down as well.

Hackers: 1; Geeks: 0: Cyber attack stalls Oxford, Cambridge servers

In January, a DDoS attack took down BBC's website and iPlayerTV platform and it took over five hours for BBC to restore the services. The hack led to thousands of users posting their own reactions to the shutdown by using the hashtag #BBCDown which became the top-trending topic on Twitter globally.

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