In a move to protect freedom of expression on the internet, Google is launching a new tool to help websites protect themselves from attacks by hacker groups and other elements. Project Shield leverages Google’s infrastructure to ward off DDoS attacks.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is one of the favoured tools of hacker and activist groups. What’s a DDoS attack? Basically, several computers across the world start pinging one website incessantly, until its servers can no longer handle the load and the site crashes or is unavailable for viewing.
It’s a crude attack, but effective and used often because it is cheap to execute. In fact, if done right, it can even make huge websites like Twitter go offline.
“For small, independent media or human rights organizations, a website might be the only voice they have. These types of websites have increasingly become the target for DDoS attacks, preventing access to important information,” Google says.
Project Shield combines Google’s DDoS mitigation technologies and Page Speed Service (PSS), which allow websites to serve their content through Google to be better protected from DDoS attacks.
“Over the last year, Project Shield has been successfully used by a number of trusted testers, including Balatarin (www.balatarin.com), a Persian-language social and political blog, and Aymta (www.aymta.com), a website providing early-warning of scud missiles to people in Syria. Project Shield was also used to protect the election monitoring service in Kenya (www.iebc.or.ke), which was the first time their site stayed up throughout an election cycle,” Google says.