Microsoft defence leaves dynamic content vulnerable

Microsoft's latest defence against denial-of-service attacks will help static Web sites but not dynamic ones.

Microsoft's latest defence against denial-of-service attacks will help static Web sites but not dynamic ones.

Arlene Martin

Microsoft's has confirmed it is working with partner Akamai to use web-cacheing of content on global, distributed servers as a defence against denial of services attacks.

Akamai will store Microsoft web pages on its 8,000 servers across the world, to maintain access to the pages in the event of a denial of service attack on the main Microsoft Web sites.

Should a denial-of-service attack succeed in disabling the main Microsoft Web sites, Web browsers will still be able to download the Microsoft pages from Akamai's 8,000 servers.

Ian King, general manager for northern Europe at Akamai, said the service would benefit companies looking to protect static web content. However, it could not maintain access to pages that were frequently updated by a Web site, such as those containing database-driven financial information.

King said, "As long as we can get access to the originating server and offload content onto our networks, we will be able to go on delivering content. However, if a primary or origin server delivering dynamic content is attacked, we cannot create something out of nothing."

Microsoft's confirmation that it is working with Akamai to ensure the availability of its Web pages, has led to a surge in Akamai's share price.

However, web-cacheing was developed as a technology to speed up downloads around the world and was not intended as a defence against hackers.

King added, "Our service does not make websites utterly impenetrable, but it provides a higher level of capability than you would otherwise have. There are a number of precautions that can be taken to avoid a denial-of-service attack. Akamai can play a key part, but does not offer the entire defence solution."


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