Saturday, April 27, 2013

So what does a Distributed Denial of Service look like?

A "normal" Logstalgia visualization looks like this (above)

So how do you visualize what's going on in the Internet?

This is one way. Logstalgia is a website traffic visualization tool that replays or streams web-server access logs as a pong-like battle between the web server and an never ending torrent of requests. Requests appear as coloured balls (the same color as the host) which travel across the screen to arrive at the requested location. Successful requests are hit by the paddle while unsuccessful ones (e.g. 404 - File Not Found) are missed and pass through.

The Mashable website reported that VideoLAN developer Ludovic Fauvet turned a recent DDoS attack on their server into a Logstalgia video that shows an amazing, one-sided fight between thousands of requests, with the web server desperately trying to keep them all at bay. 

We've all heard of DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks bringing down web servers, but most people can't really imagine what a DDoS attack looks like. During a DDoS attack: many computers (sometimes an entire botnet) send a lot of requests to a single web server, rendering it very slow or even completely unavailable. Happens to international broadcasters all the time.

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