“Project Shield:” Open Source DDoS Protection Platform

Project shield safeguards online news and free expression to defend freedom of information and help uphold the democratic process within the Internet society. It protects some of the most vulnerable victims of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks for free, by taking applications from news and political organizations, independent journalists and election monitoring organisations. It defends these users against cyber attacks and crimes using a reverse proxy. This allows websites to direct all traffic, both real traffic and spam traffic from cyber attacks, through Project Shield, which filters and catches the malicious traffic.

Performance Concerns

Some users have found that their website runs slightly slower when Project Shield is working in the background. While the functionality can affect website performance, it can be disabled as quickly and easily as any DNS change. On the other hand, some websites have improved site performance due to the platform’s catching features that remove what was previously causing lags. The effect on performance seems to depend on various factors and vary website to website. Project Shield may affect how some videos display, but videos streamed through YouTube aren’t affected.

Privacy Concerns

Project Shield does collect and store user configuration settings and logs for traffic transmitted through the platform. It requires IP addresses and other information from website readers to evaluate whether the incoming traffic is malicious. However, it only keeps aggregated metric sand details about attacks. Also, deleting your site from Project Shield means all your information gets deleted too, and traffic data ceases to get collected.

The Pros

DDoS protection may be the most important security measure websites need to take today, because they’re a customary choice for cybercrooks who want to take down a website. They can do it anonymously and with little cost, which means the event is all too common. What makes Project Shield so effective at resisting DDoS attacks? It’s a shared cloud platform, which makes it good at scrubbing large scale, long lasting DDoS attacks. What’s even better is that Google is offering this capability for free.

The Cons

What’s the catch? Project Shield doesn’t protect its users from hackers, malware or ransomware. Thus, by no means is it an all-in-one cybersecurity platform for websites. Also, while it provides defense against large-scale DDoS attacks, it’s yet to be seen if Project Shield’s protection effectively catches and mollifies smaller attacks. Since it’s a free service, there’s no service-level agreement. Hence, nothing is really guaranteed.

Verdict

Google’s new Project Shield isn’t a service as much as an initiative to protect democracy on the Internet. It’s great for low budget or non-profit websites providing a free service to their users. However, news organizations and other groups that earn revenue from paid subscribers or website advertisers definitely require more comprehensive protection.