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Google just thwarted the largest HTTPS DDoS attack in history

Google has confirmed that one of its cloud customers was targeted with the largest HTTPS distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack ever reported.

As reported by Bleeping Computer, a Cloud Armor client was on the receiving end of an attack that totaled 46 million requests per second (RPS) at its peak.

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The aforementioned figure means it’s the largest such attack in history — it’s more than double the previous record holder (up by nearly 80%, to be exact); a 26 million RPS attempt blocked by Cloudflare during June.

The latest incident commenced on June 1 with an initial goal of directing 10,000 RPS toward the HTTP/S Load Balancer. Within eight minutes, that number increased ten-fold to 100,000 RPS, triggering Google’s Cloud Armor Protection by creating an alert derived from traffic analysis data.

Once the ten-minute mark was reached, an unprecedented 46 million requests per second were being sent toward the victim.

These numbers may not mean much to those who aren’t familiar with the nature of HTTPS DDoS attacks, but for reference, Google stated that it was equal to receiving all daily requests Wikipedia receives in the span of 10 seconds.

With the target performing Cloud Armor’s recommended rule for this situation, its operations were able to continue without being affected.

A depiction of a hacker using a laptop.

The sheer amount of traffic that was being sent toward the cloud service lasted for more than an hour. “Presumably the attacker likely determined they were not having the desired impact while incurring significant expenses to execute the attack,” Google said in its report.

Researchers from Google detailed that traffic from the HTTPS DDoS incident was delivered via 5,256 IP addresses situated across 132 countries. And it wasn’t carried out by an amateur; due to the use of encrypted requests (HTTPS), devices involved in the operation could theoretically have been backed by powerful computing resources.

As for the specific type of malware connected to the attack, Google was unable to identify an exact name. That said, analyzing where the onslaught emerged from indicates the involvement of Mēris, which is a botnet behind two previous DDoS record holders (17.2 million RPS and 21.8 million RPS, respectively).

Prior to Google’s report on the new record, the largest ​​HTTPS DDoS attack in history — achieved via a botnet of 5,067 devices — was recorded by DDoS mitigation company Cloudflare.

DDoS assaults in general are on the rise, with Cloudflare reporting a 175% increase in such incidents during the fourth quarter of 2021 alone. Microsoft itself managed to prevent the largest DDoS attack ever (not to be confused with HTTPS DDoS), which reached 3.47 terabits per second.

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