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DNSimple Suffers Downtime Due to 25 Gbps DDoS Attack

A major distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack was launched on Cyber Monday against a customer of Florida-based DNS provider DNSimple. The attack lasted approximately 12 hours and caused outages to both the company and its customers.

According to Anthony Eden, the founder of DNSimple, the attack peaked at 25 Gbps and 50 million PPS. This wasn't the first time the company was hit by a DDoS attack and four protection devices had already been in place, but they couldn't handle the large traffic volume.

The response team installed a fifth, larger capacity mitigation device, but it didn't work properly because there wasn't enough time to configure it properly, and the large amount of traffic that passed through it caused the name server software to crash.

Eden pointed out that the attack wasn't aimed at his company, but at a new customer whose domains were already under fire.

"The customer had already tried at least 2 other providers before DNSimple. Once the domains were delegated to us, we began receiving the traffic from the DDoS," Eden said in a blog post. "DNSimple was not the target of the attack, nor were any of our other customers."

Following the attack, the DNS provider has decided to take some measures to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. DNSimple says it doesn't have the resources to build a complete DDoS solution internally, but it has signed a contract with a third-party service provider.

The company also plans on allowing customers to have secondary name servers so that their websites can continue to operate in case of an attack. Another planned measure is the segmentation of customers into different networks to ensure that only a subset of users are affected in case of a DDoS attack against one user.

A report released by Verisign last month shows that the number of DDoS attacks exceeding 10 Gbps increased by 38% in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the previous quarter. A recent study from Incapsula shows that DDoS attacks cost companies $40,000 per hour.

There are several DDoS mitigation products on the market, including a hybrid solution that was announced in November by Radware.

"A hybrid attack mitigation service guarantees that traffic is diverted to the scrubbing center only when the enterprise's Internet pipe is about to saturate. It clears attack traffic before it reaches the company's Internet pipe, protecting against downtime and service degradation," the company said. 

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.