DDoS Attack Post-Mortem

Yesterday between 11:12 PM and 11:59 PM GMT+1 we were faced with a DDoS attack of substantial size. The attack was so large it produced five times the API query volume than we normally receive.

During the attack our API performance did degrade but the cluster did not go down and continued to answer legitimate customer queries. Our average query answer time increased from 12ms to 1,250ms (1.25 seconds) as the graph below illustrates:

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We found that 25% of our customer traffic was subject to this increased latency. The other 75% continued to receive low response times of around 15ms to 30ms. The reason for this is due to the attack coming in frequent but short bursts. Likely a coordinated attempt to create the highest impact on our service quality.

We don't know who is behind the attack at this time as we have received no communication from those responsible. We're not yet planning any changes to our infrastructure as a result of this attack but we are monitoring our service closely and may introduce more nodes to the cluster if we feel it's warranted.

Thanks for reading and we hope you're having a great week.

April Newsletter

Today we sent out the first newsletter of this year to users who have the "New features and improvements" email toggle enabled within their dashboard. This has been the widest distributed newsletter so far with several hundred users opting in to receive it.

If you didn't receive the newsletter but would like to read it you can do so here on our website.

We've made quite a lot of changes since November 2018 when we sent our last newsletter. We only publish two per year so you can expect our next one around October-November later this year.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

New cluster node and other infrastructure changes

Much like the last time we added a new node we've been looking for the right server for a while. One that offers very high IPC (instructions per clock) but also has lots of threads for handling a high volume of simultaneous connections. We believe we've found both of those qualities in our new node we're calling RHEA.

We now have four nodes in the cluster and they are spread out across three countries. And the two servers that are in the same country are hundreds of miles apart. We also have two nodes that aren't in the cluster day-to-day but can be inserted within a few seconds in the event multiple meteor strikes hit all the datacenters we use.

But we haven't only been working to add a new cluster node. Over the past month we've been optimising our post-processing inference engine which runs exclusively on STYX which was a new dedicated server we added in February. We've been able to significantly improve performance which means the server is scaling to meet our increasing daily demands.

In addition to these changes we've been working on improving our infrastructure. We've invested in an entirely new load balancing method. We setup our own nameservers and can now perform anycast DNS based geographic routing. Which means in the future when we enable this capability we will be able to direct you to one of our cluster nodes that is physically closest to you.

Although these are all under the hood changes they have taken a significant amount of capital and development time to achieve. They're not very glamorous but are important for the longevity of the proxycheck.io service. And all of it was delivered without a single second of downtime.

Thanks for reading and we hope everyone is having a great week.

Updated Contact Us Page

Today we've updated our contact us page with a new web form to make it faster and easier to get support. Best of all when you're logged into your account while using the new contact form we automatically receive information about your recent usage of our service so that we can assist you more quickly.

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You may notice we've also included subject and a priority drop-downs. This will help us triage support queries so that customers with the greatest need will be assisted first.

But don't worry, if you prefer to send us an email yourself from your own email client you can still do that. We're also still supporting our Live Chat and iMessage contact methods.

We hope you'll check out the new improvement and perhaps give it a try the next time you need to contact us for anything. Thanks for reading and we hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Threat Page Enhancements

Today we've updated the threats page to include both our threat assessment risk score system and new navigation buttons to quickly traverse backwards and forwards from the currently displayed IP Address which should make the threats page much more efficient to use.

Below is a screenshot showing both changes, the new navigation buttons can be found to the top left of the map while the new risk score is displayed under the detection determination.

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We hope you like these improvements and remember at the bottom right of each page you'll find our "last update" feature which lets you quickly see all the changes to the current page your viewing.

Thanks for reading and we hope everyone has a great weekend!

New Risk Assessment Score

Today we've introduced a new feature to the v2 API endpoint which allows you to get a risk score for an IP Address. This draws on the immense volume of attack data we have combined with our knowledge of active proxy servers and virtual private networks.

{
    "status": "ok",
    "node": "PROMETHEUS",
    "140.143.90.193": {
        "asn": "AS45090",
        "provider": "Shenzhen Tencent Computer Systems Company Limited",
        "country": "China",
        "city": "Beijing",
        "latitude": 39.9288,
        "longitude": 116.3889,
        "isocode": "CN",
        "proxy": "yes",
        "type": "Compromised Server",
        "risk": 100,
        "last seen human": "56 minutes, 33 seconds ago",
        "last seen unix": "1551868636"
    },
    "query time": "0.006s"
}

Above is an example query and just below the proxy and type responses you can see a new risk score. This can range from 0 to 100 and it's a percentage value. Anything below 33% is considered a low risk while between 34% and 66% is considered a high risk and anything between 67% and 100% is considered dangerous.

We've added this score so that you can glean more information about an IP, specifically how dangerous it is on top of the proxy yes/no determination. Scores will generally be between 66% and 100% for positive detections depending on how much bad activity we're witnessing from that IP while negative detections will generally be below 10%.

To access this new feature you must supply a new flag with your queries which is &risk=1 and please remember not to rely on this score to make all your determinations, we recommend you provision your software for proxy: yes/no although you may want to fine tune your blocking based on how risky the IP has been determined to be.

Thanks for reading!

Warrant Canary Updated

Today we have updated our warrant canary. It was meant to be updated on the 1st of January 2019 but with some internal changes that were made last year we did not get the reminder to update the warrant canary until now, apologies for the delay.

As always the warrant canary can be found here: https://proxycheck.io/canary.txt And our public key to verify the canary is still the same one from 2016 and is available here: https://proxycheck.io/pubkey.txt

Thanks and sorry for the delay!

Improved Positive Detection Log

Today we've pushed out an update to the dashboard which allows you to expand the entries listed to get detailed information including the network owner, hostname, port number, proxy type and even attack history from across our network. Below is a screenshot showing an expanded entry.

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This new feature is live for all customers as of this post, we know that providing more information within the postitive detection log has been a frequently requested feature and we're happy to be able to deliver it today.


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