Surviving a Distributed Denial of Service attacks

Posted on Posted in Arquitecturas Abiertas

August 20th, 2016. Published by Jacobo Nájera in Journeys. El Cosmografo. Translated by Jesús Robles Maloof / Enjambre Digital.

ast March Jamie McClelland, a well-known engineer working on the operation of the infrastructure of MayFirst People Linki, started a talk explaining that two types of computer attacks can be identified: those aimed at compromising security and taking control of a infrastructure, and those aimed at saturating it so that servers are unavailable for a normal operation. These categories can also be display in combined way, but the mentioned above are a good starting point.

Between August and September of 2015, MayFirst People Link received attacks focused on saturating the infrastructure in order to make it inoperable for its users, it was a denial of service attack.

This Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is considered among the largest attacks by its volume in the MayFirst history; In this case, the attack speeds were monitored, which ranged from 20Gbps with a duration of almost three weeks.


The attack began against the server that was hosting the National Network of Abortion Funds, website By sending traffic through requests to the server coming from compromised computers, they managed to saturate it and leave it unavailable for consultation and access. Later on, the techniques involved in the attack became more complex, causing at times that all MayFirst services, became intermittent for its members.

To address these systematic attacks, MayFirst performed several tasks from technical and research aspects, to collective funding efforts. In that path, MayFisrt meets the Deflect Project, part of the organization. They develop technology that has three fundamental technological principles: Cache, Banning, and Monitoring. But beyond that, Deflect has succeeded in turning in the last two years into a learning community that creatively studies and address the implications of the business behind the DDoS attacks that are sold to the highest bidder, ranging from $5 to a more complex services at higher costs.

In that sense, the lessons on documenting these attacks are in MayFirst own words:

*Attacks of this type will be more frequent and more serious. It’s like a mirror of the exacerbation of the political struggle in this country, as well as at the international level.

*Instead of relying on what is already available in the typical ways, the organization has to lead our movement in finding innovative ways to combat and defeat the type of attack we have just faced, which are determined to increase in the future.

*The communications between our technicians and our members are one of the most critical factors in surviving such attacks. We did better this time and our members responded, but we must improve the speed of our responses and communications and ensure that they reach each and every one of us.

  1. A non-profit organization founded in 2005 dedicated to provide cooperative Internet services such as web hosting to individuals and organizations.


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