Cloud Hosting Provider Rackspace Latest Victim of DDoS Attack

30 Dec

It was a not-so-happy holiday for hosting provider Rackspace as they were the latest victim of a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack last week. Rackspace reported that the DDoS attack targeted DNS (Domain Name System) servers in three of the company’s datacenters causing havoc for the company and its customers.

In a post published on December 22nd Rackspace stated:

“We are monitoring a connectivity issue impacting our DNS environment that began at approximately 01:10 CST December 22nd. Our engineers have taken steps to mitigate impact from this issue, however some of our customers may continue to experience intermittent periods of latency, packet loss, or connectivity failures when attempting to reach rackspace.com or subdomains within rackspace.com.”

A separate post explained that engineers discovered the attack on Monday December 21st:

“On December 21st, at approximately 23:54 CST, backbone engineers identified a UDP DDoS attack targeting the DNS servers in our IAD, ORD, and LON data centers. As a result of this issue, authoritative DNS resolution for any new request to the DNS servers began to fail in the affected data centers.”

As a result of the attack Rackspace’s DNS services were down for approximately 11-12 hours forcing the company to scramble to restore service and calm customer concerns. Many customers who trust Rackspace with their DNS hosting were anxious to have connectivity restored, but patience ran thin quickly. One customer working for a realty company in the Northeast stated frustration that their email wasn’t working and that the company was “freaking out” as a result. Other customers were calmer, trusting that Rackspace would resolve the issue in a timely manner.

Rackspace’s brush with disaster is certainly not the first case we’ve heard this year but surely raises concerns. Rackspace provides services for hundreds of thousands of customers, making them one of the largest and most-widely used cloud hosting providers out there today. They pride themselves on security and availability – which has been a cornerstone of their success since their founding in 1998. While the attack hasn’t seemed to have a large effect on customer trust so far, it definitely raised some eyebrows. With so many people trusting Rackspace for their hosting needs it’s concerning that the hosting giant had customers without service for more than a typical work-day.

As more and more cloud hosting providers crop up every day, it’s important to do your due diligence and find a provider you can trust. Relying on a cloud hosting company for critical applications can be extremely rewarding as far as uptime and ROI – but it’s important to weigh the risks and build trust with the provider in question. Sometimes the “big boy” providers aren’t the best for you business, make sure to ask questions, communicate needs, and make sure the provider knows your expectations before signing up.