About a month ago, we all experienced the effects of a major DDOS attack on DynDNS. This caused outages for many of the systems we rely on as software developers. For me, these included Github, Waffle and Semaphore.

Everytime this happens, I can’t help but wonder why. I know that it is cheap to order these attacks, so anyone can do it. But why? Does anyone actually benefit from an attack like the one today, or is it all just for the lulz? Just bored teenagers?

Sometimes I find it hard to stay positive when faced with destructive stupidity like this. Github has endured numerous attacks in recent years. Every time it happens, it is hindering the creativity of thousands of people trying to build something cool.

There is always the possibility that the incentive is financial. Unless the victim chooses to go public about it, we cannot know if a demand for a ransom has been made during the attack. And even though this motive is cynical, I can understand it.

What puzzles and depresses me is when I don’t understand the motive at all.

Here in Denmark we recently witnessed a series of events where people would drop heavy rocks from bridges over our motorways. In the most serious case, a German tourist was killed. She had a family with her, a young child who was unharmed and a father who was badly wounded and may never recover from the crash.

An attack like that is obviously meaningless to the healthy mind. It is a tragic loss of life and nobody benefits.

I do not mean to make a direct comparison between the two kinds of events, but there are obvious similarities. It is a fact that some people find pleasure or satisfaction in the destruction of property, virtual or physical, or even fatal injury to other human beings.

Sadly, I can’t do anything about this.

But I must make a personal choice about how to deal with events like these. Do I make an effort to try understand them or do I instead close my eyes and ignore them?