This blog contains reflections and thoughts on my work as a software engineer

tirsdag den 10. november 2009

DDoBA is the new DDoS

I was in Copenhagen for the weekend and Friday I attended an informal introduction to Windows Azure held by Microsoft in Hellerup. I also was lucky enough to be entertained by Scott Hanselman for almost two hours Saturday but that’s another story for another blogpost. My team and I were mostly interested in getting the big lines drawn on this Azure thing. It’s a cloud-based service something and what else is new… That’s basicly the mindset I went into the meeting with. It was a nice introduction held by Architect Evangelist Rene Loehde and it was packed with information.

What I noted during the session was a new term coined by Rene called “Denial of Business Attack”. We all know the classical DDOS attack paradigm: Somebody flooding a website with requests can potentially make the servers go down and make the entire website disappear from the face of the Internet. It’s been here for years and years to come – nothing new here. But now you have to consider a completely different scenario in the years to come – follow me through this business scenario:

If your business is based on having a load of X 99% of the time and maybe X times 10 during peaks (i.e. a ticketing office selling tickets to U2 or something similar) you might be interested in a cloudbased service which scales infinitly based on your current load. Sounds nice – the theory being that you only need to pay for the users consuming ressources and nothing else.

What is interesting is that you’re not safe at all from being DDos-attacked – now the threat doesn’t come from having your website disappearing from the Internet but the exact opposite: Having your site available at all times allows persons in not-so-good faith to bombard your website making you pay deerly in consumed ressources. You agreed to pay for consumed ressources in your contract with the cloud servicehost so they’ll want their money for the millions of requests for sure… That’s an interesting shift in paradigm I think. If you’re not hosting your website in the cloud you’re in danger of potential customers not being able to access your webshop. If you’re hosting your website in the cloud you’re in danger of having millions of visitors consuming ressources but without any sort guaranties that you’ll earn any money to pay for the ressources consumed… It just never stops, does it?  :o)

I find it a little amusing and a proof on the fact that that no matter what we do and how we do things on the Internet there’s always a million ways for evil people to ruin it for everybody else. Any comments on that?

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