Prolexic’s new Australian scrubbing centre targets surging DDoS climate

Onshore scrubbing improves service levels, hastens broader DDoS response

The opening of an Australian data ‘scrubbing’ centre will play a pivotal role in helping Akamai’s Prolexic business maintain its benchmark of having enough free capacity to deal with 3 to 5 times the largest-ever distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack at any given time.

The decision to open the new facility – which , when it opens in Melbourne later this year, will be the company’s 6th such Asia-Pacific – came as increasing customer demands made it increasingly difficult to do data-cleaning at speed at offshore facilities.

“It was no longer appropriate for us to be driving traffic through places like Singapore and Hong Kong,” vice president of product marketing Ari Weil told CSO Australia.

“The ability to route maintenance through a local scrubbing centre makes a big difference – not only to being able to respond in a more agile fashion to threats, but in that it means they can maintain a more consistent level of service.”

Those levels of service have become increasingly important as growing utilisation of cloud services heightens the need for companies to have a clear DDoS mitigation strategy in place.

Some 71 percent of respondents to the recent Oracle-KPMG Cloud Threat Report 2019 said most of their cloud data is sensitive, up from 50 percent last year.

Yet while 72 percent of respondents feel the public cloud is more secure than their own data centres, fully 82 percent said they had experienced security events because it wasn’t clear who was responsible for which part of the enterprise security.

Deep reliance on smooth and predictable communications with remote cloud servers makes businesses increasingly vulnerable to interruption by novel DDoS attacks such as Memcached, which knocked GitHub offline after pummelling it with a 1.35Tbps attack last year.

Akamai saw over 9000 DDoS attacks last year and, Weil said, “mitigated around 65 percent of them without anyone lifting a finger.”

Automated detection and response form a core part of the mission of a company like Akamai, which has successfully parlayed its early content distribution network (CDN) into a platform for providing a broad range of malware-filtering and DDoS-blocking capabilities.

Offering cloud-hungry businesses a defence against DDoS promises a way to head off incidents such as the 2016 online Census disaster, in which the site was paralysed by traffic because the Australian Bureau of Statistics opted not to take up an IBM DDoS protection service.

Newer DDoS attacks had been able to amplify traffic “to an astonishing degree”, Weil said, but keeping the scrubbing process onshore would help the company focus on scaling even as it works more closely with customers to develop and execute response plans.

“The path of these attacks is trickier,” he explained. “They grow and scale so they evade detection. People ask whether it’s an arms race, and the answer is that we don’t really know. But it will always be the one-upmanship that will have you scaling up forever. The We do have to maintain that capacity.”