What a DDoS Attack Looks Like

By Eric Limer on at

When hackers do cyber-battle, there isn't much to see. Maybe you'll wind up on a crashed website, but the real carnage is happening behind the scenes, perpetrated by a diffuse army of computers a world away. This is what it looks like.

What you see here is a record of a April 23rd DDoS attack against VideoLAN's download servers. You know, the guys who brought you VLC. And the "footage" you see is a Logstalgia visualisation. Each coloured ball is a request, the same colur as the name of the host that sent it. The paddle is the server attempting to keep up with onslaught, and balls that aren't hit are requests that 404.

As you can pretty clearly see above, the DDoS attack force completely bombards the site with traffic at one specific chokepoint, leaving other legitimate requests to bounce away unfulfilled as the server struggles to keep its head above water. For some context, here's a Lostalgia video of a server not being DDoS'd.

DDoSing is a pretty simple concept—one that you probably already understand—but it's still awesome to watch one unfolding right before your eyes. If only all forms vandalism were as mesmerising to watch. [Reddit]