AWS servers hit by sustained DDoS attack

Day-long outage caused by Route 53 DNS system disruption

Businesses were unable to service their customers for approximately eight hours yesterday after Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers were struck by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

After initially flagging DNS resolution errors, customers were informed that the Route 53 domain name system (DNS) was in the midst of an attack, according to statements from AWS Support circulating on social media.

From 6:30pm BST on Tuesday, a handful of customers suffered an outage to services while the attack persisted, lasting until approximately 2:30am on Wednesday morning, when services to the Route 53 DNS were restored. This was the equivalent of a full working day in some parts of the US.

"We are investigating reports of occasional DNS resolution errors. The AWS DNS servers are currently under a DDoS attack," said a statement from AWS Support, circulated to customers and published across social media.

"Our DDoS mitigations are absorbing the vast majority of this traffic, but these mitigations are also flagging some legitimate customer queries at this time. We are actively working on additional mitigations, as well as tracking down the source of the attack to shut it down."

The Route 53 system is a scalable DNS that AWS uses to give developers and businesses a method to route end users to internet applications by translating URLs into numeric IP addresses. This effectively connects users to infrastructure running in AWS, like EC2 instances, and S3 buckets.

During the attack, AWS advised customers to try to update the configuration of clients accessing S3 buckets to specify the region their bucket is in when making a request to mitigate the impact of the attack. SDK users were also asked to specify the region as part of the S3 configuration to ensure the endpoint name is region-specific.

Rather than infiltrating targeted software or devices, or exploiting vulnerabilities, a typical DDoS attack hinges on attackers bombarding a website or server with an excessive volume of access requests. This causes it to undergo service difficulties or go offline altogether.

All AWS services have been fully restored at the time of writing, however, the attack struck during a separate outage affecting Google Cloud Platform (GCP), although there's no indication the two outages are connected.

From 12:30am GMT, GCP's cloud networking system began experiencing issues in its US West region. Engineers then learned the issue had also affected a swathe of Google Cloud services, including Google Compute Engine, Cloud Memorystore, the Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Bigtable and Google Cloud Storage. All services were gradually repaired until they were fully restored by 4:30am GMT.

While outages on public cloud platforms are fairly common, they are rarely caused by DDoS attacks. Microsoft's Azure and Office 365 services, for example, suffered a set of routine outages towards the end of last year and the beginning of 2019.

One instance includes a global incident with US government services and LinkedIn sustaining an authentication outage towards the end of January this year.

Featured Resources

Unlocking collaboration: Making software work better together

How to improve collaboration and agility with the right tech

Download now

Four steps to field service excellence

How to thrive in the experience economy

Download now

Six things a developer should know about Postgres

Why enterprises are choosing PostgreSQL

Download now

The path to CX excellence for B2B services

The four stages to thrive in the experience economy

Download now

Recommended

1Password targets enterprise customers with Secrets Automation
IT infrastructure

1Password targets enterprise customers with Secrets Automation

14 Apr 2021
PowerShell threats increased over 200% last year
cyber security

PowerShell threats increased over 200% last year

14 Apr 2021
Russia launched over a million cyber attacks in three months
hacking

Russia launched over a million cyber attacks in three months

13 Apr 2021
New DNS vulnerabilities put millions of IoT devices at risk
Internet of Things (IoT)

New DNS vulnerabilities put millions of IoT devices at risk

13 Apr 2021

Most Popular

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages
data centres

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages

7 Apr 2021
How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

8 Apr 2021
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro review: Champagne tastes on a lemonade budget
Mobile Phones

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro review: Champagne tastes on a lemonade budget

13 Apr 2021