Jigsaw, the recently renamed 'Google Ideas' has launched Project Shield, a DDoS mitigation service for news websites in a bid to help smaller news outlets to fend off censorship.
Although any size of website can sign-up, the idea is to allow those in smaller news organisations to fight against anyone who might not want their website online by using Alphabet's pre-existing huge internet infrastructure.
The team behind Project Shield are not sharing how exactly they do this, so as not to risk giving tips away to potential attackers. George Conard, team lead of the project said that it is a simple case of changing some domain name configurations that redirect visitors to a Google server, presumably showing a cached version of the website.
Eric Schmidt explained last week why Jigsaw, which is owned by Alphabet, is embarking on such a philanthropic venture, explaining that the company wants, “to use technology to tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges.”
Jared Cohen, Jigsaw's president, points to Google's larger mission statement, saying that when talking about organising the world's information ”you have to make sure that once people have access to the information, it doesn't get DDoS attacked, it doesn't get compromised, it doesn't get censored in a politically motivated way.”
The news comes shortly after Arbor Networks, a DDoS tracking company found that attacks are exhibiting flood power of 100 GBPS, compared with peak attacks of 50 GBPS in 2009.
Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of High-Tech Bridge told SCMagazineUK.com said: "The initiative is definitely great, however website owners, eligible for the protection, should remember that practically speaking Google will have access to all the traffic to their websites, including any sensitive data transmitted by the users.”
“Moreover, defending websites from DDoS to prevent censorship remains questionable", adds Kolochenko saying, “they can also use professional cyber-gangs to destroy the websites by hacking them, or use Ransomweb attacks against which nobody will be able to protect and the website will go offline for forever."
Evgeny Vigovsky, head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection at Kaspersky Lab highlights that, “Alphabet's launch of Project Shield to protect against DDoS attacks highlights the capability for businesses to guard against such attacks, or risk financial loss, severe reputational damage, and possibly the loss of valuable customers.”
Vigovsky says that, “DDoS attacks are nothing new; they've been a threat for many years and are one of the most popular weapons in a cyber-criminals' arsenal. However, we've noticed attacks have become persistent and sometimes against the same organisations. In fact, Kaspersky Lab found that in 2015, one in six -16 percent - of companies worldwide suffered a DDoS attack, with the attack rate rising to one in four - 24 percent - for enterprises.”