American Idol-mocking slammed with DDoS attack

A popular but controversial website that asks fans of "American Idol" to vote for the least talented contestant each week to keep the show more interesting continues to be slammed by a distributed denial-of-service attack, the site's manager told today., said to be the hit show's most popular web destination behind the official site, has angered "Idol" purists since its launch in 2004 because it seeks to keep around the most entertaining, not necessarily the most talented, singers.

And now it's apparently caught the ire of not just teenage girls, but also the hacker community.

Nathan Palmer, who manages the site and server, told today in an email that the site fell victim Wednesday to an all-day DDoS attack using spoofed IP addresses. The site was pounded by 400 megabits of traffic per second, beginning at 12:30 a.m., about two hours after "Idol" went off the air.

"About six hours later, we change IP addresses to get away from the attack and two hours later the attack was back on the new IP address," he said. "It was clearly targeting the domain name and not just the IP."

He said the attack continues, but the site has deployed filters to the core router, which has been "effective" in limiting the malicious traffic.

"We were able to identify the master IP address and are working on getting in contact with the owner and having it shut down," Palmer said.

Alexa currently ranks as the world's 21,105th most trafficked site. Hits have gone up more than 8,000 percent in the last three months after the show began airing this winter.

The site, which shock jock Howard Stern promotes almost daily on his Sirius radio show, has attracted more visitors than ever before in recent days. During that time, the site has been stumping for Sanjaya Malakar, a 17-year-old boy from Washington with a sweet voice but who appears so overmatched that cranky judge Simon Cowell has threatened to quit if he wins.

But each week, when one seemingly more talented contestant is cut based on viewer votes, Malakar keeps surviving and advancing to the next round. The race is down to nine now. The site defends its purpose as a way to guarantee great reality television programming.

"We agree that a fish out of water is entertaining, and we want to acknowledge this fact by encouraging people to make an even funnier show by helping the amusing antagonists stick around," the site says.

Site owner Dave Della Terza, 24, told the Chicago Sun-Times for its Wednesday editions that he receives many nasty emails - some containing death threats - from fans who don't support what he is doing. One such "Idol" fan has even gone as far as to announce on her MySpace page that she will go without food until Sanjaya is booted off. Her hunger strike, which she is documenting on the social networking site, entered Day 12 today.

"People take this show so seriously," he said. "It's just a cheesy entertainment reality show."

Click here to email reporter Dan Kaplan.


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