Furry websites face broad denial-of-service attacks
Online furry communities are reeling after a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks now entering their second day, which not only knocked out Fur Affinity, but have impacted a variety of less-well-visited art and chat sites.
Weasyl and e621 appear to have remained online without significant downtime, thanks in part to their shielding behind distributed proxy CloudFlare, while Inkbunny has been up and down throughout the day as it was hit by two hour-long attacks which saturated its connection.
It is as yet unclear whether there is a link between FA's downtime and the subsequent attacks, or whether a group or individual has just taken the opportunity to sow chaos within the fandom. Fur Affinity, which reported "disruption in four facilities", reposted this message on their forums:
[Fur Affinity's datacenter] InfoRelay experienced intermittent network connectivity issues during 10:10pm - 11:13pm on October 15th (sic.), 2014. This issue was caused by large attack on our network at the IAD2 facility. Our Network Administrators have confirmed that the DDoS attack has been originated from your IP block, this attack was causing issues for other customers in the IAD2 facility. To resolve the issue we were forced to blackhole the netblock, after the change was made connectivity has been stable at the IAD2 facility for the past hour.
While InfoRelay's statement seems to imply that a machine under Fur Affinity's control was sending denial-of-service traffic, FA administrator Dragoneer said this was "just poor wording on their part", and that "the DDOS is definitely incoming, NOT originating from our servers"
Update (16 Oct Noon): On Thursday morning, SoFurry announced that they were being null-routed by their datacenter, a protective measure intended to prevent traffic coming to or from the server and impacting other machines which was also applied to Fur Affinity.
Update 2 (16 Oct PM): SoFurry has returned to service; DDoS attacks appear to have ceased, but Fur Affinity remains offline.
Update 4 (17 Oct Noon): Fur Affinity's Dragoneer is chatting about the downtime on Reddit.
Update 5 (17 Oct PM): Inkbunny and Weasyl have been subject to further attacks, while Fur Affinity has returned in read-only mode.
Distributed denial-of-service attacks have become increasingly common over the last decade, with providers such as CloudFlare and Incapsula making good money by adding a protective caching network between servers and clients (with varying impacts on performance and security).
New tactics such as SSDP reflection are quickly adopted and packaged into "takedown services", with bot farms rented for what can be just a few dollars per hour. Exploits for bugs such as Shellshock and Heartbleed promise to make such attacks even more powerful in the future.