DDoS Attacks on Rivals of Facebook & WhatsApp

Posted on September 30, 2014 by .

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In the last weekend of September two of the technology companies, believed to be more secure alternatives of the giants Facebook and WhatsApp, fell victims of severe DDoS attacks. Recently Telegram and Ello were pronounced to be the latest rivals of the social media company Facebook and the recently acquired WhatsApp app for instant messaging.

The Nature of Ello

Ello is a social network with anti-Facebook nature, which is an ad-free platform that accepts new members only if they have an invitation. The new network does not sell data to third parties. The data that is collected by the new social network is aggregated and anonymous, which makes it useless to Google and the companies’ advertising purposes.

The Nature of Telegram

Telegram is an application for instant messaging, which is based in Russia and is famous for its privacy. The users consider it a great alternative to the WhatsApp platform. Telegram is based on a custom MTProto encryption protocol and applies end-to-end encryption for the secret chats. Telegram became even more popular after Facebook acquired WhatsApp since the company has been strongly criticized for lack of data privacy.
Telegram application is available for Google Android and Apple’s iOS.

DDoS Attack

Both Ello and Telegram were hit by independent distributed denial of service on the last weekend of September. The DDoS attack against Telegram lasted for two days. During the attack, the service was normal in most of the countries, though in some places people lost connections and were not able to send outgoing messages. The user data had not been compromised despite the attack.

There were speculations by some of the social media users that the DDoS attacks and the disruption of service might be associated with the situation in China, since these attacks coincided with the reports that the government of China has hacked WhatsApp as it believed that activists are exchanging messages through that application.

On the same day, Ello also reported that it underwent a DDoS attack that lasted for 45 minutes. The situation was fixed when Ello blocked the IP addresses that were associated with the attack.

The Security Experts

The security expert Martin McKeay from Akamai Technologies stated in front of the SCMagazineUK.com that both Telegram and Ello are targets for two main reasons: they have limited security support and they are growing in popularity. These two reasons make Telegram and Ello the perfect targets for the DDoS attacks.

The security professionals further pointed the fact that the popularity of the communication channel Ello increased overnight, and that brought negative attention as well. The experts further say that the volumetric attacks are now becoming the norm, and they advise all organizations that do business on the Internet to be prepared for such attacks.

The cyber criminals find it easy to carry out DDoS attacks up to 100Gbps, 200Gbps, 300Gbps. That is why the companies have to be active in defending their data from the malicious attacks using mitigation and real-time detection.

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