Internet Archive facing sustained cyber attacks — nonprofit struggles with 'impactful, targeted, adaptive' DDoS campaign

Global DDoS illustration
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

This week in people proving we don't deserve nice things, the nonprofit Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine are being hit by "tens of thousands of fake information requests per second", per an official Archive.org blog post explaining why stability and access have been suffering since the attack started on Sunday. Fortunately, all of the actual data seems to be safe, but the Internet Archive getting knocked offline and slowed down by DDoS attacks isn't good for...anybody, really, except maybe greedy publishers and other shady interests.

Make no mistake: the Internet Archive is a very important resource for the web and its users at large. Cached web pages come in clutch whenever the original host has gone offline, and is useful for posterity/accountability with revisions, edits, errors, and so on. Indeed, the Wayback Machine is so fundamental that when Google cut its own web page caching service, and told everyone to use Internet Archive instead!

Brewster Kahle, founder of Internet Archive, made several comments on the matter in an official blog post. He clarified "We are hardening our defenses to provide more reliable access to our library. What is new is this attack has been sustained, impactful, targeted, adaptive, and importantly, mean."

He further elaborated, "If our patrons around the world think that this latest situation is upsetting, then they should be very worried about what the publishing and recording industries have in mind. I think they are trying to destroy this library entirely and hobble all libraries everywhere. But just as we're resisting the DDoS attack, we appreciate all the support in pushing back on this unjust litigation against our library and others."

In the alleged words of infamous hacker Stewart Brand, "Information wants to be free". Now make no mistake: finding ways to support your favorite publications, authors, and so on is still important — but that importance doesn't justify obfuscating potentially life-critical information out of sheer spite. The Internet Archive is a critical resource for every Internet user, viewer, or creator, and such malicious attacks on a shared spring of knowledge reveal a deep lack of character and foresight on the party or parties involved.

Here's an idea: if the perps behind this attack don't like the Internet Archive or how it may archive 'their' your content, why not provide better availability/service instead of resorting to legal and technical sabotage? God forbid a copyright holder or Internet troll be forced to innovate.

Freelance News Writer
  • NeoMorpheus
    Why would anyone attack this particular site?

    What do they gain?

    Indeed, this is why we cant have nice things.
    Reply
  • peachpuff
    NeoMorpheus said:
    Why would anyone attack this particular site?

    It was probably Nintendo, archive.org has all of their roms for download...
    Reply
  • NeoMorpheus
    peachpuff said:
    It was probably Nintendo, archive.org has all of their roms for download...
    That might true, given how <Mod Edit> bad nintendo is, but the worst part is that people keep giving them (nintendo) money.
    Reply
  • umeng2002_2
    That's not even the good archive site since they respond to take-down requests. Hardly and archive.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    umeng2002_2 said:
    That's not even the good archive site since they respond to take-down requests. Hardly and archive.
    They can't just flout the law. They are a legal entity and we would have zero archive, if they tried that. Trust me, even responding to take-down requests is better than having no wayback machine, at all.

    Wayback machine has saved my butt on multiple occasions. That's why I donate to them, every year. You really need to support what things you value, or else the world will definitely be a worse place.
    Reply
  • King_V
    NeoMorpheus said:
    Why would anyone attack this particular site?

    What do they gain?

    Indeed, this is why we cant have nice things.

    Absolutely ANYONE who would be able to benefit from the elimination of historical records.

    Absolutely ANYONE, who would benefit from being able to say "that never happened" or "I never did that."
    Reply
  • umeng2002_2
    bit_user said:
    They can't just flout the law. They are a legal entity and we would have zero archive, if they tried that. Trust me, even responding to take-down requests is better than having no wayback machine, at all.

    Wayback machine has saved my butt on multiple occasions. That's why I donate to them, every year. You really need to support what things you value, or else the world will definitely be a worse place.
    archive.today
    archive.is
    archive.ph
    archive.li
    archive.vn
    archive.fo
    archive.md

    This is the good one, and needs multiple top level domains because so many people try taking it down.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archive.today
    Reply
  • bit_user
    umeng2002_2 said:
    archive.today
    archive.is
    archive.ph
    archive.li
    archive.vn
    archive.fo
    archive.md

    This is the good one, and needs multiple top level domains because so many people try taking it down.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archive.today
    I tried one website that Internet Archive had snapshotted numerous times, prior to spammers taking the domain. This web site was very important to me and archive.today has zero snapshots of it. So, that's only one datapoint, but it's one that was very meaningful to me and, as far as I'm concerned, it means archive.today is far from a total replacement for Internet Archive.

    P.S. I'm not disclosing which website because it was for the business previously run by a family member and nothing to do with the content it contained.
    Reply
  • umeng2002_2
    True, the archive.today doesn't really do much in the way of snap shots; but you can archive a site on demand.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    NeoMorpheus said:
    Why would anyone attack this particular site?

    What do they gain?

    Indeed, this is why we cant have nice things.
    Reply