2011: The Year of the DDoS

As the year comes to a close, we've been assembling trend data for 2011. One of the most interesting has been the rise of denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Controlling for CloudFlare's growth, we've seen a 700% increase in DDoS attacks over the course of the year. While it's always hard to tell the specific reason for any attack, we're seeing two macro trends driving these attacks:

  • Political: attacks directed at sites to suppress information for political purposes. Recent attacks we've seen in this category include those aimed at journalists covering human rights abuses in Angola, bloggers writing about alleged election fraud in Russia, escort sites in Turkey, and sites offering surrogate mother services in China.
  • Financial: the online version of extortion. These attacks are typically directed at ecommerce sites with around USD$1 million in monthly revenue. They usually are proceeded by a letter demanding a payment (usually around USD$10,000) or threatening an attack. If the ecommerce site doesn't pay, the attack starts.

The promise of the Internet is that anyone with an idea can reach a global audience. Organizations that are threatened by this promise are increasingly using DDoS as a way to suppress information. We're proud of the work CloudFlare is doing to keep sites under attack online and help fulfill the promise of the Internet.