Microsoft’s cloud platform continues to hold firm, despite the ever more violent attacks from hackers.
Last October, Microsoft managed to thwart the largest DDoS attack ever recorded by its services in terms of throughput. It targeted its Azure cloud service, whose status as a global tech hub makes it a prime victim. It was recently targeted by a new DDoS attack on the scale “unpublished“.
What is a DDoS attack?
To resituate the context, this attack consists of flooding the targeted network with useless requests in order to saturate it; if the attack is of sufficient magnitude, the network therefore finds itself catatonic, and all the associated services are disrupted. A disaster scenario for a cloud service like Azure. Indeed, many companies and institutions are largely dependent today, some of them very large.
As always on this scale, this attack came from a botnet complete, ie an army of computer-zombies infected by a pirate. These are then exploited to participate in a large-scale attack. This time, the botnet had about 10,000 machines located around the world.
This allowed hackers to attack Azure with an incoming stream that reached 3.74 Tbps (3740 Gbps) at peak attack. Azure’s servers therefore had to absorb the equivalent of 25 games Red Dead Redemption 2 per second for about 15 minutes. A staggering figure which, according to Microsoft, would make it the “largest DDoS attack ever documented” in the history of cybersecurity. Information to be taken with tweezers because difficult to verify, since it is a strategic and very secret business sector; but it has at least the merit of illustrating the scale of the maneuver.
Azure, an anti-DDoS bastion
What is certain is that such an offensive could easily have made many services bow down. But it takes more to shake Microsoft’s platform. This is constructed as a true IT fortress, specifically to guard against these attacks. In October 2021, when the firm had just suffered another attack at 2.4 Tbps which was a record at the time, its spokesperson affirmed that the infrastructure of Azure was able to absorb “tens of terabits per second” before giving in.
Its servers are therefore more or less invulnerable to attacks of this magnitude. But engineers continue to remain vigilant and proactive on this issue. Because what is more worrying than the rate of attacks is their volume and frequency. Indeed, Microsoft has already reminded on several occasions that the number of DDoS attacks has exploded in the year 2021. But for now, Microsoft still largely dominates this cat-and-mouse game, and Azure’s servers continue to set the standard for anti-DDoS protection. And that’s good for their many customers.