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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

The beautiful war of a DDoS attack

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

Using the web app Logstalgia, a developer has managed to capture on video a visual impression of what happens during a DDoS attack.

We've all heard of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack and know what it is: when a person or group of people attempt to take down a website by flooding it with connection requests. These max out the site's bandwidth, making it unable to accept new requests. The attacks are usually automated and can be created using a variety of different methods. The loss of traffic during the attack itself, and the recovery afterward, can end up costing websites quite a lot.

But what does that actually look like? Well, nothing by itself; but thanks to a website traffic visualisation tool called Logstalgia, Ludovic Fauvet, developer of website VideoLAN (which created and distributes the free multimedia player VLC), managed to capture a 23 April DDoS attack on his site.

Logstalgia's web page describes the app: "Logstalgia is a website traffic visualisation that replays or streams web-server access logs as a Pong-like battle between the web server and a never ending torrent of requests." It's a little hard to see in the DDoS attack video, but the back-and-forth between the requests and the server really do look like a game of Pong, which can be seen in a visualisation of normal web traffic.

VideoLAN, you might be interested to know, managed to deal with the load with aplomb, surviving the attack at 400 requests per second and emerging unscathed on the other side.


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