DDoS Attack Briefly Cripples Amazon During Holiday Rush

Dennis Faas's picture

With the holiday season attracting droves of online shoppers to Internet retail sites, a planned malicious online attack was almost inevitable. Fortunately, the distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attack that was supposed to wreak havoc on Wal-Mart, Amazon and a host of other major chain websites was limited to a select geographic location and resulted in minimal damage.

The afternoon prior to Christmas Eve saw a number of online retail sites suspend their services without notice, at the height of the Christmas rush. The good news, however, is that the attack lasted about an hour and the extent of those victimized were limited to shoppers in northern California. (Source: idg.no)

Major Sites Suspended during Peak Holiday Shopping

According to Allen Goldberg, spokesman for Amazon's DNS provider Neustar, the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack was identified in minutes and officials were able to restore order within the hour.

A DDoS attack "occurs when multiple online PCs flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system or website. These systems which do the attacking are compromised and controlled by hackers using a variety of methods." (Source: wikipedia.org)

Attack Inconvenient, More than Anything

While not as devastating as it could have been, the attack was nevertheless an inconvenience for a number of last-minute shoppers. The ordeal was over quickly, had limited reach, and occurred at a time when most shoppers had either ordered presents already or bought their items at an actual store. (Source: pcworld.com)

The year 2009 has played host to a few DDoS attacks. Among the most prolific was a wave of attacks that pushed Twitter offline and caused days of headaches for Facebook, Google Blogger and LiveJournal.

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