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Vito Botta's journal with tips and walkthroughs on web technologies and digital life

Downtime and DDoS against PowerDNS.net

This site is back to normal now, after problems caused by a DDoS were resolved earlier today.

The attack was not against the site/server directly, but against the DNS service I’ve used until this morning, PowerDNS.net, resulting in my domains not being accessible for around 12 hours between 09:12:06PM GMT yesterday and 09:07:06AM GMT today (according to Pingdom).

Luckily this is just a personal blog and not a business, otherwise it could have cost me money. Nevertheless I am glad that everything is back to normal now. It’s a shame that the site was offline for that long, but at the same time my wife and I may have not received emails for a while, so I am more worried about the email services when the domains are not accessible.

While searching on Twitter for clues as to what was going on, I learnt that PowerDNS and PowerDNS.net are actually two distinct companies even with the same logo!… how confusing. Several people (me included) were asking @powerdns for help which they couldn’t provide while @PowerDNSNet, the company under attack (PowerDNS.Net Hosting by Trilab) remained silent.

No notice, email, explanation, status update on Twitter or else, was given during the outage. Frustrating and unprofessional. Only a few hours ago a tweet appeared in the PowerDNS.net feed saying:

Some of our ip’s have been nulled by our provider as traffic for them affected infrastructure and created latency/packet loss.

The lack of communication during the outage was enough for me to switch to the Amazon Route 53 service. Besides, PowerDNS.net has failed multiple times lately; I know that you can’t blame a provider if they are suffering from an attack, but ultimately the customer is affected. I hope that Amazon’s scale would at least make it more difficult for an attack to bring the service down.

A DDoS towards a DNS service or registrar reminds how easy it is these days for sites to go down even without being attacked directly.

At least for what concerns DNS services, the lesson learned is that using two services together vs a single service may be a good idea. I will likely use something else together with AWS Route 53. As said email especially is very important and I don’t want this to be affected if a DNS service is experiencing downtime.

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About Vito Botta
Espoo, Finland Website
I am a passionate developer based in Espoo, Finland, where I work as Lead Software Engineer for OnApp. My roles as architect, coder and technology enthusiast overlap each other here on this web log.