Vocus takes action against DDoS

Arbor Networks announced this morning that network provider Vocus has selected its Peakflow platform to protect its network against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Arbor Networks announced this morning that network provider Vocus has selected its Peakflow platform to protect its network against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

McDonald Richards

McDonald Richards (Credit: Vocus)

"It will provide us with an immediate reaction," Vocus chief technology officer McDonald Richards told ZDNet Australia. "If we see a traffic block across the network which looks anomalous, it'll alert us."

"If bad requests are sent to one of our customers ... we'll pick it up and try to clean it before it gets to them," he said.

Customers will be able to choose if their feed is made "clean" or not, he said. Vocus is still working on product profiles and pricing.

Vocus is also working on automation of the service, which will mean that as an attack occurs customers will be able to choose whether it is blackholed (traffic dropped altogether) or filtered, Richards said.

The move followed a DDoS attack that affected the company's network in May, although McDonald said the decision to implement systems to protect itself had occurred before that time.

"One of our customers was hit up with a large amount of traffic which came from a botnet," he said. The attack was a "classic extortion attempt", according to Richards, where the attacker threatens to take down a site unless given money.

The attack saw congestion on Vocus' network between Sydney and Melbourne.

Often customers didn't notify Vocus when they received threats, according to Richards, which made it tough for threat mitigation.

Vocus relied on "very reactive" manual mitigation, spotting an attack and looking through "tables and tables of data" before doing something about it.

"We see an increase in traffic .... we'd look at it and identify if it was anomalous," he said.

Mitigation took 1.5 hours in that particular case.

If the Arbor systems had been implemented, it would have taken one or two minutes to click a button and clean it up, he said. Ironically, the company had test units implemented, but they weren't ready for use at that point.

The final decision was made in June to go with the Arbor product. Vocus had looked at competitor products, but Richards was not willing to name who had not passed the grade.

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