Google launches Project Shield to defend sites against DDoS attacks

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Monday marked the launch of Project Shield, an initiative that Google touts as offering people and companies better website protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks by having their content served through the company's DDoS mitigation infrastructure.

Google has spent years beefing up its infrastructure to withstand high-level DDoS attacks and, with the introduction of this initiative, the company plans to offer those protections to websites serving news, human rights or elections-related content – and for free too. 

“This is going to make a real difference for freedom of expression online, protecting small websites that have powerful adversaries and would not normally be able to protect themselves against targeted DDoS attacks,” Shuman Ghosemajumder, VP of strategy with web security company Shape Security, who formerly handled security at Google, told on Tuesday.   

Ghosemajumder said this initiative is particularly important because it will raise awareness of the need for DDoS protection, since most websites – notably smaller websites – do not have those kinds of defenses in place.

While Google said it cannot offer fully guaranteed protection against DDoS attacks, the initiative is still in its infant stages and stands to evolve.

“I think the logical next steps would be to build on the success they demonstrate with this initial set of freedom of speech-related websites and expand the service to include more humanitarian causes around the world,” Ghosemajumder said.

He added, “In the future, I think every hosting internet service provider will provide these types of services. I could also imagine Google providing this as a commercial service in the future, as it certainly has the most DDoS-resistant infrastructure of any organization.”

A Google spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

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