February 03, 2010 - Comments Off on Google Confirm DoubleClick cause Denial of Service

Google Confirm DoubleClick cause Denial of Service

Over the last couple of weeks, some users of DoubleClick may noticed server outages and massive spikes in server connections.  The connections were apparently referrals from DoubleClick banner adds, but coming in such massive waves that they caused the target servers to overload and stop serving pages. The flood of connections peaked between 6000 and 10000 connections in a 15 second sample.   In terms of website security, we call this a Denial Of Service (DOS) attack and would only ever expect to see it from a malicious source, such as a hacker or botnet.

Google don’t seem to have publicised this amazing blunder, although they have issued this statement to marketing campaigners who reported the issue :

Recently Google was notified of a problem being experienced by a small number of advertisers who were seeing large volumes of server requests from activity on the Google platform.  Following an investigation Google identified the problem and resolved the cause of the issue.  The problem related to ads being delivered across the platform that triggered a server request at the same time as the ad impression was delivered.

This issue was unforeseen, Google is sorry that the select client sites experienced problems with the volume of server requests.

Such heart warming remorse from the company comes only weeks after Chinese hackers launched attacks against Google’s systems and penetrated their security.  In those attacks, servers and accounts were compromised resulting in trojan horses and viral code being uploaded to Google’s systems.

In Google’s brief explanation of DoubleClick’s recent strange behaviour, they have not confirmed if the events are in any way linked and if DoubleClick’s servers have also been compromised.