Reddit was targeted by a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) attack earlier yesterday morning, resulting in some unpleasant downtime for Redditors all around. Why it became the target of an attack is still a mystery, but a Reddit representative told the Huffington Post that “All we know is it is blatantly malicious.” Some speculate that the DDoS attack was related to Reddit’s manhunt for the Boston Marathon terrorists.
Redditors had spent days trying to uncover just who was responsible for the tragic events at the Boston Marathon. Redditors began crowd sourcing photos from the Boston Marathon and were looking for individuals who looked suspicious. There were many people on the list, many of which were deemed innocent later on. In one unfortunate incident, the New York Post used one of the photos on Reddit of “two suspicious men” as their Thursday cover, two men who were later identified as a high school soccer player/track runner and his coach.
The manhunt for the Boston Marathon Manhunt generated a lot of traffic for Reddit, but was not enough to overload its servers. The hacker could have decided that while Redditors were working diligently on the Boston Marathon manhunt, it would be the best time to throw everyone off with his/her DDoS attack. Reddit was successful in mitigating the attack, however no one has yet stepped forward in claiming credit for it.
Reddit’s DDoS attack was just one of many that happened this year, and one of many that are yet to come. Bandwidth usage by DDoS attacks have skyrocketed by over 700% according to Prolexic Technologies. It discovered that 77% of DDoS attacks were aimed towards bandwidth capacity and routing infrastructure, while 23% of the attacks disrupted critical apps and processes running on a server. WordPress sites have also been under attack by hackers who want to gain access to the servers running the site and use them to create a huge botnet.