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Amazon fought off largest denial of service cyber attack ever

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Amazon says it spent three days fighting off the largest denial of service cyber attack ever recorded

  • AWS Shield says it safeguarded against the biggest DDoS attack ever recorded
  • The attack funneled 2.3 terabits of data per second at its target
  • A previous record was set in 2018 with a max of 1.7 terabits per second
  • Amazon didn’t say who the target of the attack was 

Amazon’s Shield protection service says that it successfully defended against the biggest Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack ever recorded. 

According to a regular report from Amazon’s AWS Shield division, which is specifically designed to safeguard Amazon cloud customers against DDoS attacks, the effort topped out at 2.3 terabits per second.

The rate measures the amount of incoming traffic being funneled into targets’ servers every second.

The DDoS attack is the largest ever recorded and outpaces a previous record set in 2018 (stock)

The DDoS attack is the largest ever recorded and outpaces a previous record set in 2018 (stock)

As reported by ZDNet, which first noticed the record-breaking attack, Amazon did not identify who the target was but said it took place in mid-February. 

The company also said that the attack caused three days of ‘elevated threat’ for AWS Shield. 

In this case Amazon says the the CLDAP (Connection-less Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) was exploited.

As ZDNet notes, when abused, the CLDAP protocol can amplify attacks by between 56 to 70 times their initial size.

The attack eclipses the former record for DDoS attacks which clocked in at 1.7  terabits per second. That attack was mitigated by NETSCOUT Arbor in March 2018.

As noted by ZDNet, DDoS attacks, while still a threat, are increasingly rare due to improvements in security and cooperation between internet service providers and other players affected by the attacks.

When attacks are launched, ZDNet notes that they usually peak at about 550 gigabits per second, making the recent DDoS particularly noteworthy.

According to Cloudflare, 92 percent of the DDoS attacks mitigated by the service in the first quarter of 2020 were under 10 Gbps and another 47 percent were evens smaller – under 550 megabits per second.

WHAT IS A DDOS ATTACK? 

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. 

These attacks attempt to crash a website or online service by bombarding them with a torrent of superfluous requests at exactly the same time.

The surge of simple requests overload the servers, causing them to become overwhelmed and shut down.

In order to leverage the number of requests necessary to crash a popular website or online service, hackers will often resort to botnets – networks of computers brought under their control with malware.

Malware is distributed by tricking users into inadvertently downloading software, typically by tricking users into following a link in an email or agreeing to download a corrupted file.

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