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One of the world's largest web hosting companies successfully fought off a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, thanks to having installed DDoS protection in the form of Webscreen's anti-DDoS appliance.

The massive distributed attack, directed at the web-hosting company's infrastructure, happened at the beginning of May 2003 and was in excess of 400 Mbps. For two hours, the attackers tried to disable the company by simultaneously hitting it with
ICMP echo-requests, SYN floods, Fragments and UDP floods.

The Webscreen device, which uses a patented technology call CHARM (as it lets the 'charming' customers in and keeps the bad boys out) was rejecting over 273,000 packets per second sent by the attackers, while simultaneously preventing the network from experiencing any outages.

Despite the ferocity of the attack, the company was able to carry on with normal service - in marked contrast to a similar attack in 2002, before the Webscreen device was installed, which resulted in nearly a week's downtime!

Without suitable DDoS protection, the effects of a major DDoS attack can be extremely serious for companies whose business is dependant on being permanently online. These dangers were highlighted by ISP Cloud Nine at the beginning of 2002, which had to cease trading after DDoS attacks disabled it.

Distributed Denial of Service attacks

To launch a DDoS attack, a hacker often uses easily available Internet downloads to break into any number of unprotected Internet-connected computers and covertly installs a piece of attack software on them turning the PC into a so called zombie. The software (on hundreds, if not thousands of zombie computers) is then remotely activated to connect to the target web server sending bogus packets of traffic thousands of times a minute.

The target web server is flooded with this barrage of spurious traffic, overwhelming its infrastructure, exhausting its bandwidth, its router processing capacity or network stack resources, and ultimately making it crash.

Webscreen anti-DDoS appliances

Webscreen anti-DDoS appliances are the world's most advanced solution for defending against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. The appliances use patented CHARM technology to ensure that genuine users or customers of a website always have access while attack traffic is dropped.

Unlike conventional anti-DDoS software, Webscreen uses heuristic algorithms to detect DDoS attacks. The device looks at the nature of the access rather than the exact signature, so an update is not required every time a new DDoS attack tool is developed. Every packet that enters Webscreen is first analysed by the Syntax Screener. If its IP characteristics do not pass the, tests the packet is rejected.

The behaviour of all IP addresses that pass through the device is recorded and Webscreen very quickly builds up a history of the IP address, generating a CHARM value. The CHARM technology determines if the packet is an attack and then makes the decision to reject or accept the packet. The CHARM technology provides a measure of how much Webscreen trusts a packet. If it has a high CHARM rating, Webscreen is more likely to let it pass through.

Webscreen availability

Webscreen anti-DDoS appliances are available through value added distributor Wick Hill, specialists in infrastructure solutions for ebusiness. Prices start from GBP 5,000 Wick Hill's portfolio covers security, performance, access, services and management. Through associations with a number of international partners, Wick Hill sources and delivers best-of-breed, easy-to-use solutions, backed up by customer support, implementation, training and technical services. These solutions are delivered through Wick Hill's channel partners.


For further press information, please contact Annabelle Brown on 0191 252 8548, email For reader queries, please contact Wick Hill on 01483 227 600, email, web

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Annabelle Brown in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit