The Hacker News
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Blockchain startups are cropping up left and right aiming to disrupt existing services and business models.

These range from the trivial to potentially game-changing solutions that can revolutionize the internet as we know it. Among those that promise to change the world, most are attempting to reconstruct the entire internet infrastructure into something that is decentralized, secure, scalable, and tokenized.

There are also those that aim to solve the most significant problems plaguing the digital world, particularly potentially costly and tedious security issues. We do not lack for dangers, ranging from data breaches to denial-of-service attacks, and other hacks.

For the most part, there are capable SaaS and software-defined services that are capable enough in addressing the threats that involve malware and DDoS.

However, blockchains offer much much more.

The plague of DDoS

Distributed denial-of-service or DDoS attacks involve a malicious hacker deploying a network of infected computers in sending traffic and making queries to the target host. By deploying a botnet with potentially thousands of unique devices, it is difficult to block on a per-IP basis.

Oftentimes, without adequate protection, a DDoS attack can slow down a website or service to a crawl until it is no longer accessible either by running out of bandwidth allocation or simply being overwhelmed with traffic.

According to this DDos Impact survey, almost half of respondents say they have encountered a DDoS attack, with more than 90 percent of these businesses being attacked a span of 12 months.

The average DDoS attack lasted between 6 to 24 hours, and at the cost of $40,000 per hour, these cost businesses about $500,000 per attack on average, with some even costing more for larger enterprises.

For small businesses, the cost can be more severe, especially for those that depend solely on their online operations and sales to thrive.

These are only the costs associated with IT activity. When a website goes down, all its business goes down with it – this can be particularly troublesome for a company running an e-commerce website or a consumer-facing application.

Blockchain-based solutions for DDoS

Sadly, a DDoS attack is something that cannot be prevented. You can only mitigate its effects, and your infrastructure can merely ward off the excessive traffic and bandwidth utilization through several means. For the most part, deploying DDoS protection entails deflecting any botnet traffic, so that your main server or cloud deployment is not overloaded.

As earlier mentioned, cloud-based DDoS protection acts as a barrier between the main server and the internet-at-large Whenever an attack occurs, the service efficiently "absorbs" the traffic to minimize the impact on the infrastructure itself.

This can only go so far, however. Even the most robust of cloud infrastructures can just handle so much traffic. Besides, for businesses, the costs involved could be overwhelming.

Here is where a blockchain and a highly distributed approach can offer more value.

Gladius, a blockchain service for DDoS prevention and website acceleration aims to leverage on its global network of individual and independent nodes in mitigating the effects of a DDoS attack and caching content all across the world to make the website load faster.

Being a decentralized network, users can rent out their spare bandwidth through a desktop client and earn money by sharing their bandwidth. Then, their excess bandwidth is distributed to nodes which in turn funnel the bandwidth to websites under DDoS attacks to make sure they stay up.

During "peace time" or periods without a DDoS, Gladius' network also speeds up access to the internet by acting as a content delivery network, wherein web content is cached for faster delivery to the target client's browser.

The perks of a peer-to-peer network

Image Credit: Gladius
A decentralized network has additional benefits beyond the simple cloud-based deployment.

While a cloud is, to some extent, distributed, it is still owned by whoever runs the platform. In contrast, a blockchain runs completely off of a decentralized network, wherein the nodes are independently owned.

Herein lies the additional benefit.
With most blockchains, nodes are rewarded through a tokenized incentive scheme – it is the same with Gladius. Individual computer owners can earn cryptocurrency tokens whenever their resources are shared with the network.

Toward a decentralized sharing economy

Blockchain startups are representative of where we are heading in the future: a truly decentralized sharing economy. We have had a glimpse of such sharing economies with platforms like Uber, Airbnb, and the like.

However, these foster a sharing economy without the decentralized aspect – the platform is still owned by a corporate entity, for instance.

With blockchain startups, the sharing economy is built entirely upon the independent and decentralized nodes that make up the network.

Bitcoin proved that we could have an exchange of value through a decentralized system. Ethereum proved we could establish self-executing smart contracts without third parties or mediums.

With solutions like Gladius, we are likewise hopeful that the internet's infrastructure can be disrupted for the benefit of both users and business that build value.

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