DDoS and the Reddit Hug of Death

What's the difference between DDoS and the Reddit Hug of Death? If you're up on your cybersecurity terms, you'll know that DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service.

It's a type of cyberattack that overwhelms a specific website, service, or video game with requests, preventing people using it. Flooding the routers and servers with data requests denies access to legitimate users. The infrastructure or routers, hubs, switches and servers might even go offline.

Deliberate DDoS attacks are co-ordinated efforts to take down a service, either with criminal intent or some political or protest motive. Hacker groups carry out DDos attacks somewhere in the world 24/7. They can be automated to run unattended.

This is different from a flood of genuine traffic from more users than the infrastructure can handle. When too many users attempt to access the same IP address simultaneously, it can overload the hosting server, so that no users, or very few can access the service, and probably with long delays in response times. The unintentional denial of service often happens when a large-scale service links to a smaller one; perhaps recommending an unmissable online deal or when an article or meme goes viral.

Which is when the delightfully named 'Reddit hug of death' occurs.  When someone posts an interesting link to the Reddit site, the Reddit user base and many others monitoring Reddit feeds often jump in, unintentionally taking the smaller site offline. Other large sites such as Instagram and Facebook can cause similar effects. There's no malice intended, but it can be the unexpected price of success.