If you're a regular on the internet, you probably know how a DDoS can choke your favourite site with garbage traffic. Well, get used to it, because they're not going away; they're actually getting worse.
Just this year, a new kind of amplified DDoS attack called a NTP DDoS has started to pop up in the darker corners of the web, leveraging old, poorly written protocols to rally digital armies more mammoth than anything we've seen before, and the folks over at Computerphile have a great — if slightly long — explanation of exactly how it works. (You can jump to 3:20 if you want to skip a history lesson and cut to the chase.)
In short, cyber ne'er-do-wells have figured out how to abuse old servers that will send a list of 600 responses if they're asked the right question, making it trivial to drown targets in data even if you only have a few zombie machines at your disposal. This kind of attack has been known about for a while in theory, but now it's rearing its ugly head. And it's probably not attack of this kind out there.
The good news is that once the old, dumb servers get shut down, the problem should go away. The bad news is that for now, it's just waiting to be abused. [Computerphile]