Feedly, the popular and free RSS service cannot be accessed for several hours because of a DDoS attack. The attackers are demanding money to stop the attack.
The danger of paying DDoS blackmailers is that you’re only encouraging them to attack you more, perhaps increasing their financial demands next time, so Feedly is really doing the right thing here by sticking to their guns.
What is a DDoS attack?
A DDoS (distributed denial of service) can be made in several different ways. For example, it’s called a DoS (denial of service attack) if a server has enough bandwitdh and enough resources, it can open thousands of connections to my blog and probably bring it down because it is effectively drowning it in requests.
With Feedly however, it is probably a botnet, which is a network of infected computers controlled by somebody. This network can have thousands of computers that receive the command to attack Feedly.com at the same time. This is the DDoS, as it’s distributed.
What does this mean for Feedly?
Well, first of all, Feedly is free for anybody who wants to use it, but in order to keep the website open they have a Premium plan that is $1.99/month.
If the attack is maintained for long enough, many of the people with the free plan, but also those with Premium will probably jump ship for another provider. This translates in lost income and lots of it.
But wait, that’s not the only way that Feedly will lose money. Speaking from experience, I am sure that right now, as I write this, they are spending large amounts of money trying to mitigate the attack. After they will succeed, one way or another, they will have to spend lots of money to add more bandwidth and equipment to prevent this from happening in the future.
These kinds of attacks happen everyday, but many are mitigated at a high network level. Some aren’t though and those affect companies like Feedly everyday and they cause real financial damage.
More about this on their official blog: http://blog.feedly.com/2014/06/11/denial-of-service-attack/