Here’s What Happened to the Internet on Cyber Monday

By

ddos_map

Many of you may have noticed that our website went down on Monday. While at first, staffers joked and grumbled, we quickly realized that the issue was something more serious, affecting not only GA, but hundreds of websites across the Internet–that’s right, we were under attack (on Cyber Monday, no less).

This disruption was due to a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) which affected our DNS provider, DNSimple.

DNSimple   dnsimple    Twittera

A DDoS occurs when a hacker deliberately uses multiple computers to flood websites with traffic. They start by building a network of infected machines, called botnets, by spreading malicious software through emails, websites, and social media. The botnets can then be controlled and commanded like an evil zombie army to overwhelm websites with traffic.

The attacks are relatively common, and particularly destructive for smaller, independent sites that may not have the resources to protect themselves against such a massive flood of traffic. However, depending on the scale and distribution of the attack, a DDoS can have the volume to incapacitate large sites, service providers, and applications as well.

DNSimple, while being a moderate sized service provider in the web of things, simply couldn’t handle the enormous scale of this attack.

DNSimple   dnsimple    Twitter

So, this wasn’t great news for GA. Especially since we had just launched a series of deals for Cyber Monday (surely, the hackers intention–don’t worry guys, coupons are valid until Wednesday!).

General Assembly   GA    Twitter

We tracked what was going on in real time on http://map.ipviking.com/, which made the DDoS look more like a nuclear attack, or a scene from WarGames (where’s Matthew Broderick when you need him?).

Norse   IPViking Live

DDoS Attack

wargames

WarGames

By 5pm EST DNSimple began to see name servers resolve across all data centers, and by 3AM all websites were fully operational. Thanks to the hard work of our engineers, and the engineers at DNSimple, GeneralAssemb.ly is up and running at 100 percent today.

If you have any questions about the DDoS, or ran into any issues due to yesterday’s disruption, don’t hesitate to call +1 (877) 348-5665 or email us at hello@generalassemb.ly.

Want to learn more about how the web works? Check out one of our upcoming web development courses.

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