Watch The World's Hackers, Live, On This Stunning Site

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One of the reasons that web sites go down is that they're targeted by hackers in something called a DDoS attack.  A plain DoS attack stands for "denial of service", which basically means bombarding a web site with so many requests that it falls over with the pressure.  The extra "D" makes the attack Distributed.  Here, instead of all those requests coming from a single computer, they are launched from hundreds of thousands of machines all over the world, all of which have been the victim of a particular "botnet" virus and can now be controlled by their new owner into launching a co-ordinated attack on demand.

Technology company Norse owns thousands of data centres and key internet hardware around the world.  By monitoring the attacks that come into its own hardware, it can work out the location and severity of all the major DDoS attacks that are taking place at any time.  As a chart of numbers, such data isn't particularly interesting.  But turn it into animated coloured shooting arrows that fire across an on-screen map of the world, and you really get a feel for how much DDoS traffic is in circulation at any one time.

It really is amazing to watch.  Check out http://map.ipviking.com/ to see it for yourself.

 

 

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Comments

If they know where the attacks are coming from, why can't the computer owners be notified to clean their machine?

A very good question! There are various reasons. The attacks are generally coming from botnets, ie networks of hundreds of thousands of compromised computers all over the world. No one has the resources to track down all these people. Especially as they are innocent of any crime. Plus, there's no legal way to make people disinfect their PC. Also, tracing an individual PC is not easy. All we have to go on is an IP address, and in many cases you'd have to subpoena the ISP in order to find out who it belongs to. And ISPs don't want to hand over this information on a large scale because they don't want to gain a reputation for giving away their customers' right to privacy. And then there's the cases of large-scale attacks being launched maliciously from places like China or North Korea. A different kettle of worms entirely.

Thanks a lot, Rob, now I am wasting time staring hypnotically at the screen.

Fascinating. DDoS can also be done openly from computers linked into some ISP who do not care enough to stop it. I have no solution does anyone. The result is your website slows to a crawl. Furthermore, the map seems incomplete, for example, there is nothing about Germany, Israel and Australia there I noticed.
I hate it when they DDOS the Counter Strike servers.....makes me want to kill 'em :| It's a pretty nasty menace.