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Arbor DDoS Mitigation Beefs Up Bigtime

Carol Wilson

Arbor Networks today announced a massive leap forward in the size of its Arbor Cloud, intending to confront the explosion in size of distributed denial-of-service attacks with eight terabits per second of scrubbing center capacity globally by year's end.

That's a quadrupling in size of the Arbor Cloud, and is being done in two steps: Arbor Networks has already doubled the size to 4 Tbit/s, by upgrading existing nodes and adding a dozen new traffic scrubbing centers in North America, Europe, Asia and South America. The NetScout Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: NTCT) unit will have a minimum of 17 such centers in operation by year's end, says Theresa Abbamondi, director of product management for Arbor Cloud & Services at Arbor Networks.

All that capacity is aimed at combating DDoS attacks of the current largest size, about 800 Gbit/s, and those expected to get larger in the future, she says. It's a long-term play on Arbor's behalf, Abbamondi tells Light Reading. "We don't expect to have to worry about adding this kind of capacity for a long time," she comments in an interview. "We believe this is the largest purpose-built network to combat DDoS attack in the world."

But where the capacity is added is also critical. By distributing its scrubbing centers globally, Arbor is better able to offload the DDoS traffic close to its source, and prevent consumption of network resources needed to move the traffic to a remote site for scrubbing.

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Arbor is a security technology provider for communications service providers and one way this new capacity impacts that part of their market is as an over-the-top service, Abbamondi says. If a CSP is selling DDoS mitigation services to its customers -- and most are -- the Arbor Cloud can serve as "a backstop" to that service provider so that if the DDoS attack exceeds its capacity or threatens its network, the DDoS traffic can be offloaded to Arbor.

"If they are running a 400-gig network -- and before last year, that was considered adequate, it can now be overwhelmed by a 500-gig sustained DDoS attack or one that spikes above 800 gigs, like at the end of last year," Abbamondi says. "A service provider can now have the comfort of knowing that they can offload that traffic onto our network and that leaves them free to continue to run their network and managing that for their customers."

In addition to that over-the-top service offering, Arbor works with service providers who directly resell the Arbor Cloud and offers a "more tightly integrated revenue-shared model offering," as well, she says.

The expectation is that DDoS attacks will continue to grow in size, because there is still a massive number of usable Internet of Things devices already out there which aren't secured and for which security may be very difficult or expensive, Abbamondi admits. She isn't expecting the pace of growth to continue as it did over the last year and, over time, newer IoT sensors and other devices such as DVRs will include security options that will make them less vulnerable to being easily made part of a bot army in a DDoS attack.

"As new devices get rolled out, they will be more security aware and we will retroactively fix the devices to be security-enabled," she comments. "So we don't think this is an infinite process in terms of growth of the attacks."

The Arbor Cloud service is integrated with the company's on-premises devices as well, and intelligence passes between the two. As a premium security company, Arbor isn't looking for "cloud-only" customers, Abbamondi says, but for those seeking its full protection capabilities, which includes the intelligent devices on the customer premises in addition to the Arbor Cloud.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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