Recently, Amazon Web Services had to defend themselves against a DDoS attack with a peak traffic volume of 2.3 Tbps, the biggest ever recorded, ZDNet reports. Amazon said the attack took place back in February and was mitigated by AWS Shield, a service designed to protect Amazon’s on-demand cloud computing platform customers from DDoS attacks, as well as from bad bots and application vulnerabilities. The firm has not disclosed the goal or origin of the attack.
To put that number into perspective, ZDNet notes that the largest DDoS attack recorded was back in March 2018, when NetScout Arbor mitigated a 1.7 Tbps attack prior to February of this year. GitHub revealed the previous month it was hit by an attack with a peak of 1.35 Tbps.
The attack in February was a so-called “reflection attack.” As Cloudflare explains, the attempt here is to use a vulnerable third party server to amplify the amount of data sent to the IP address of a victim. It relied mainly on the exploitation of CLDAP servers to enhance its traffic. Attacks using this protocol, which is normally used to access and edit shared online directories, have occurred since 2016.
Amazon said that the biggest attacks it saw between Q2 2018 and Q4 2019 were less than 1 Tbps, and that 99 percent of attacks in the first quarter of this year were 43 Gbps or less. ZDNet notes that the attacks in 2018 relied on the exploitation of a new Memcached attack vector, but says that Internet service providers and content delivery networks have worked in the years since to secure Memcached servers that are vulnerable to exploitation.