We've all heard of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack and know what it is: when a person or people attempt to take down a Web site by flooding it with connection requests. These max out the site's bandwidth, making it unable to accept new requests. The attacks are usually automated and can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The loss of traffic during the attack itself, and the recovery afterward, can end up costing Web sites quite a lot.
But what does that actually look like? Well, nothing by itself; but thanks to a Web site traffic visualization tool called Logstalgia, Ludovic Fauvet, developer of the Web site VideoLAN (which created and distributes the free multimedia player VLC), managed to capture an April 23 DDoS attack on his site.
Logstalgia's Web page describes the app: "Logstalgia is a Web site traffic visualization that replays or streams Web-server access logs as a Pong-like battle between the Web server and a never ending torrent of requests." It's a little hard to see in the DDoS attack video, but the back and forth between the requests and the server really do look like a game of Pong, which can be seen in a visualization of normal Web traffic.
VideoLAN, you might be interested to know, managed to handle the load with aplomb, surviving the attack at 400 requests per second and emerging unscathed on the other side.