On Thursday (Jan. 31), Amazon was down for about 49 minutes, which is certainly a notable event. One cyberthief group tweeted responsibility, claiming "we used a 7kbotnet running hoic 100 threads each. 80servers in botnet and a 16gbps booter." Does it make much of a difference whether the outage was caused by an internal IT screw-up, an unexpectedly huge number of shoppers looking at a specific sale or an outside malicious group? Absolutely.
From a logical numeric perspective, there is minimal difference; but psychology paints a very different HREF. Amazon has been legendarily effective at thwarting these attacks, even when major chains fall victim to the same assault. Quite a bit of comfort comes from Amazon's successful defenses. It says that D-DOS attacks indeed can be repelled, which is something that some worry about it—given what seems to be almost unlimited potential resources available to the bad guys.
Put another way, when mighty Amazon can be knocked offline, what hope is there for anyone else? Amazon Cloud—the service it wants other retailers to use—is not nearly as robust as the main site, and Amazon has been somewhat candid about those weaknesses. And there was once a time when Amazon's defenses were rather ordinary.
And, on the off-chance that Amazon was indeed taken down by criminal hackers, let's give the E-tailer the kudos it deserves. D-DOS attacks of that size are painful. Keeping the site up is critical, but once the walls fall down, getting them back up can be a huge undertaking. The fact that Amazon got back up in less than 50 minutes is extremely impressive, assuming it was indeed a D-DOS attack.
It's true but borderline clichéd to say a company that never makes mistakes is nice, but one that properly responds to those mistakes is far better. Keeping your site up during a huge D-DOS assault is nice, but recovering quickly is a lot nicer.