The firm said it suffered a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on February 28. A DDoS attack is designed to bombard websites with enough traffic to put them offline.
GitHub revealed that the attackers took over a memory system known as ‘memcaching’ to amplify the volume of data it was sending to GitHub by a factor of 51,000, meaning that for each byte sent by the attacker, up to 51KB was sent toward the target. Astonishingly, the blog revealed that the amount of traffic hitting the developer platform was 1.35 terabits per second at its peak.
"The attack originated from over a thousand different autonomous systems (ASNs) across tens of thousands of unique endpoints,” the blog read. During the incident, the company sought outside help from Akamai, the cloud services provider, which took over some traffic and provided additional network capacity. The attack lasted eight minutes. GitHub said that at no point was its customers' data at risk.
GitHub boasts almost 20 million users and is most commonly used by computer coders for open-source projects. The online firm is considered the largest host of source code in the world.
DDoS attacks have been on the rise in recent times. Last month, the website of the national tax office in the Netherlands was taken offline after a DDoS attack targeted the country’s largest banks. ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank said they were hit by hackers, temporarily disrupting online and mobile-banking services.
Earlier this month, US Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats cited DDoS attacks among a list of actions he expects North Korea to use against the US in offensive operations. The intelligence chief made the comments during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
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