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Google Ideas Map Shows What Cyber Warfare Looks Like Today

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, October 21 2013

DDoS attacks on October 21, 2013

A swirling vortex hovers over Washington D.C. and brightly colored dots pour into the city from above. Elsewhere—in China, France and Brazil, for example—less impressive streams penetrate their capital cities as well. What looks at first glance like an image from the classic alien attack film Independence Day is actually a new visualization from Google Ideas and Arbor Networks. Called the Digital Attack Map, it depicts Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks around the world. The map was launched today as part of the Google Ideas' “Conflict in a Connected World” summit.

The tool can also be used to track trends and they have curated a gallery of maps of particularly significant attacks. Users can look up historical data for all geographies, if they are interested in a specific time and place.

From the Digital Attack Map Gallery, a still of large internal reflection attacks in the United States that took place August 31.

The map is semi-live so users can see how the attacks fluctuate from day to day. Arbor Networks provides the data from their ATLAS threat monitoring system on a daily basis. In a blog post they write that DDoS attacks have become increasingly common, “both in terms of frequency but also in terms of how many Internet users are impacted.”

They elaborate:

It’s not just a problem for large, global organizations and service providers, but anyone with an Internet connection can be caught in the crossfire of an attack. The ‘collateral damage’ of an attack against a large organization or service provider are the people that rely on those networks every single day.

The Digital Attack Map team has also aggregated an interesting fact sheet (and video) about DDoS attacks. For example, did you know that US$150 on the black market can buy a week of DDoS attacks?

If nothing else, the map illustrates in a compelling and engaging way just how common these kinds of attacks are now.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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