Google’s Project Shield is aiming to protect news reporting and free expression on the web, and has opened itself up to applications for free protection from DDoS attacks.
DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, as you’re likely aware, involve the flooding of the victim with huge amounts of traffic from many sources that overwhelms and takes the site down.
They can often be used as a crude form of censorship by those with an axe to grind against a particular website’s viewpoint, which is why Google is making Project Shield available to protect news sites and human rights sites (along with election monitoring websites).
At the moment, these are the only websites which can apply for DDoS protection. The idea is to provide a viable option for small sites that can’t hope to defend themselves against a larger-scale attack, and Google’s system reroutes the malicious traffic through its own infrastructure to absorb it.
If you want to apply, there’s an online form to fill in here which asks for the details of your site, and poses a few other questions about security and whether you’ve been hit by DDoS in the past. Note that you’ll need to set up a Google account if you don’t already have one.
If your application gets the green light from Google, you’ll receive an email with all the details needed to configure Project Shield. It shouldn’t take a webmaster any longer than 10 minutes to set everything up, so Google says.
If you run a site such as one of these and have been harassed by online troublemakers in the past, you’ve not really got anything to lose here.
Your only concern may be the data you’re giving Google access to, as Project Shield collects “traffic metadata and cached content for website traffic”, but the company asserts that any data is used to improve the performance of the anti-DDoS system and is not used to hone search or target advertising.