In attempt to defend against numerous cyberattacks, and specifically Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS), which can crack down a site with a enormous stream of malicious traffic, Google has launched Project Shield.
The novelty which was created by the Internet searching giant is aimed at protecting sites from being taken offline, allowing them to serve their content through Google’s infrastructure, Mashable reports.
“Project Shield is a service that currently combines Google’s DDoS mitigation technologies and Page Speed Service (PSS) to allow individuals and organizations to better project their websites by serving their content through Google’s own infrastructure, without having to move their hosting locations,” Google Inc. explains on its official blog.
The tool, was unveiled by the company on Monday at the Google Ideas Summit in New York, N.Y.
According to the Internet giant, Progect Shield was created specially for sites that operate in potential conflict zones, where governments might try to block information online.
Thus, Project Shield could appear to be extremely useful for online activists in Syria, Egypt and other countries where the Internet is under government control.
“DDoS attacks allow anyone to purchase someone else’s silence,” C.J. Adams, an associate at the Google Ideas think tank, said during the launch of the tool. “That hurts the Internet and it hurts free expression online.”
The expert cited as an example Aymta, a site that warns Syrians when a missile is launched, and even suggest the area where it could land. Created by Dlshad Othman, a hacker and Syrian activist, the website was crashed down by the Syrian government with a DDoS attack in July.
“Government malicious actors know that that’s how this works so they design attacks specifically to take away information at the points were it’s needed the most,” Adams said.
He went on, adding that as a rule, those access points are in the hands of small organizations with very limited means.
“There are so many organizations that need this sort of protection,” said Scott Carpenter, the deputy director of Google Ideas. “And they are very small, they are very easy to knock offline.”
Google is now searching for sensitive websites, run by human rights activists, or independent news sites in conflict zones, to apply to become the project’s first round of “trusted testers.”
“Project Shield relies on Page Speed Service, currently offered free of charge. Future pricing of Page Speed Service may apply to Project Shield users, but all users will be given 30-day notice as described here. We’re hoping to offer the service to charities and non-profits at a reduced fee or at no cost in the future, but this is still under development,” Google blog writes.
At the summit, the Internet company also unveiled to public an interactive digital map of DDoS attacks around the world.
The map, which is the result of Google’s collaboration with security firm Arbor Networks, shows current attacks as well as past ones dating back to June 1, 2013.
The new service also allows visitors to discover where the attacks are purportedly launched from, how intense they are, and it also aggregates news articles related to the attacks.