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Net Neutrality Protest and DDOS

As has been reported by many outlets, the John Oliver show on HBO has advocated that his viewers send their comments about net neutrality to the FCC. His idea was to flood the FCC website and, therefore, render the FCC website unavailable. By having viewers all send comments protesting the potential repeal of net neutrality rules they could shut down the FCC. This would send a powerful message about the will of the people.

However, it is unlikely that the viewership of the show actually brought the FCC to its knees. Here is a little background about DDoS attacks.

DDOS, or Distributed Denial of Service, is a highly coordinated attack that uses thousands and sometimes millions of devices to send such things as connection requests or large volumes of data to a network of servers thus overwhelming its capacity to respond. This malicious traffic blocks legitimate requests to the targeted network of servers from being processed. Thus the Distributed Denial of Service monicker.

DDoS attacks can come from many sources. Malicious botnets can be imbedded in thousands of devices by having users click on seemingly innocent links. Then when the time comes, the botnets send floods of requests or data files to target servers. One large DDoS attack was initiated by hacked public video cameras. That attacked sent 20,000 requests per second from 900 of the infected video security cameras.

John Oliver and the FCC
Now lets look at the John Oliver show’s viewers. The show has a large following. So, what if John Oliver suggested that all his viewers send their net neutrality comments to the FCC in order to bring down the FCC comments server. Let’s say that thousands of viewers followed the suggestion. What do you think the probability would be that enough comments were sent all at a specific time in order to block the network of FCC servers. Fairly unlikely.

According to a statement by David Bray of the FCC, their servers were victims of a series of DDOS attacks about midnight Eastern Time. Mr. Bray said, “These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host.”

Now, what is open to speculation and wonder is whether the DDOS attack timing was coincidental or if John Oliver’s comments inspired a person or group to perpetrate the DDOS attack. Interestingly, if the attack was created by sympathetic John Oliver viewers, they might have actually blocked many comments supporting net neutrality from being delivered by blocking the comment servers.

DDoS Protection
There are many reasons that businesses are attacked. Some include Hacktivism, hacking for social change. Extortion, hacking for ransom. Revenge, hacking to get back at a company for a perceived wrong. The motivations for these attacks are not much different than motivation for any other crime.

These attacks can come from anywhere ant any time. It is important for business and personal networks to be prepared ahead of time by protecting the network perimeter with strong Intrusion Prevention and other security appliances that can detect anomalies in network traffic. Forrester, IDC and Yankee Group predict that the cost of a 24 hour outage by a large e-commerce business would approach US$30 Million.

There are many specialized appliances that are designed to detect and block DDoS attacks. These appliances can save thousands to millions of dollars in lost revenue and reputation repair by preventing attacks that shut down business websites for hours or even days.

Of course, these appliances must be safely and securely connected to network links. TAPs and Network Packet Brokers are designed specifically for this purpose. These security enablement appliances allow connection of multiple security appliances on network links without impacting availability, speed or reliability. Further, large and complex networks can use intelligent TAPs and Packet Brokers to improve efficiency of security appliances through filtering and port mapping features that cut costs and increase processing speeds. You can find more information on TAPs and Packet Brokers at

Network Neutrality
Here is a final thought on the issue at the core of this controversy. The new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai was an attorney for Verizon prior to his selection to this position. According to an article in the Seattle Times, since his appointment, he has stopped nine companies from providing discounted high speed internet access to low-income individuals, withdrew an effort to keep prison pay-phone rates low, and scrapped a proposal to open the cable box market to greater competition. Like these changes or not, the telecom, cable and media industries are in for many changes ahead.

Stay informed, stay connected, stay protected!

Posted: 07/07/2017 16:44:15 by Network Critical with 0 comments
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