Opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of MRD.
The recent DDoS attack(s) shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. It followed shortly after the Mirai botnet was open-sourced, and accessorized with an IoT (Internet of Things) army. Botnets are centrally controlled, large in number, and sometimes used to send much traffic over the Internet to flood a site or service, and those such botnets are usually comprised of obscure devices like CCTVs, DVRs, etc. that have been infected with malware. This time with Mirai, malware with an amassed botnet unseen in numbers of yore. The world had, and now has ever so expectedly, shown itself changed. So fitting a name too, for this new world, if not unintentional. "Mirai" is Japanese for future.
Enough waxing poetic. I was actually surprised though. Very. Not that Mirai has already been used repeatedly of course, but that so many operating on the Internet had collected into a turkey shoot.
Even with all the wiz-bang defences a provider can offer, like caching, retries, multiple servers with fallback if one or more fail, anycast, load balancers, etc. only so much can be done to protect customers within costs that are certainly calibrated for currently known threat levels. When a game-changer like Mirai comes along, can a provider react quickly enough?
Even with ability to scale defences in short order against increased threat levels, resources, and oh yeah, money needed to do so has to come from somewhere. Higher fees for customers anyone? Security against threats aren't absolute. Not even at any cost. There are relative to ever-changing threat levels within which, we live.
When seeking a provider for any Internet service, companies have to consider that provider's popularity also means they're a more popular target. Thus actually decreasing the value of any defensive services they may provide. Back to relativity, there's a point where it's no longer worth it.
Since fighting botnets, of ever-increasing size, within costs calibrated for currently known threat levels has shown itself futile using aforementioned tactics that become ever less effective the more popular (and as a target) the provider becomes, perhaps the solution could be learned from the enemy themselves. Wasn't there something like this in The Art of War? Or was it Fog of War? Whatever.
That's right. To beat the botnets at their own game, one should run their Internet sites and services there own botnet army of obscure CCTVs, DVRs, coffee machines, and light bulbs, yeah! Take that botnets!
OK, seriously. That isn't possible due to botnets lack of sophistication. However, one could simply go with a more or completely obscure provider. You know - support your local mom-and-pop shops. Or even consider doing it yourself; whatever. Let's all start truly distributing ourselves across the Internet, the way the Internet was originally intended. And for our own safety. Oh, and guess what! The mom-and-pop shops are much less expensive. Doing it yourself, even less! With the added value of having learned more about how the current world with the Internet works.