Microsoft has finally disclosed the reason behind the outage that affected its services, including Xbox Live, Microsoft Teams, Office 365, and Bing, earlier this month. According to the company, the disruption was caused by a DDoS cyberattack that targeted its Azure DNS service.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to overwhelm a server or a network with a large volume of traffic from multiple sources, making it unable to respond to legitimate requests. In this case, the attackers targeted the Azure DNS service, which is responsible for resolving domain names to IP addresses. As a result, many Microsoft services became inaccessible or slow for users around the world.
Microsoft said that it detected and mitigated the attack within an hour, and that it restored normal service operations shortly after. The company also said that it is taking steps to prevent similar attacks in the future, and that it is working with law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident.
Microsoft apologized for the inconvenience caused by the outage, and thanked its customers for their patience and understanding. The company also assured its users that their data and privacy were not compromised by the attack.
The DDoS attack on Microsoft is not an isolated incident, as many other online platforms have faced similar threats in recent years. DDoS attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated, posing a serious challenge to online security and reliability. Therefore, it is important for online service providers and users to adopt appropriate measures to protect themselves from such attacks.
Notable DDoS Attacks During 2022 and 2023
- In March 2022, a DDoS attack brought down the game servers of Among Us, preventing players from accessing the popular multiplayer game for a few days. A new version of RapperBot (heavily inspired by the Mirai botnet) was used in the attack.
- In May 2022, Microsoft mitigated a 2.4 terabits per second (TBps) attack in Azure, the largest attack in 2022. The attack targeted the Azure DNS service, which is responsible for resolving domain names to IP addresses.
- In January 2023, a series of hacktivist campaigns against Western targets including banking, airports, healthcare and universities were launched by the pro-Russian Telegram-organized groups Killnet and more recently by AnonymousSudan.
- In February 2023, Cloudflare auto-mitigated a 1.3 Tbps DDoS attack that targeted a South American Telecommunications provider. The attack was part of a broader campaign which included multiple Terabit-strong attacks originating from a 20,000-strong Mirai-variant botnet.
- In March 2023, Cloudflare auto-mitigated a 71 million requests per second (rps) DDoS attack, exceeding Google's previous world record of 46M rps by 55%. The attack leveraged a new generation of botnets that are comprised of Virtual Private Servers (VPS) instead of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.