Google today outlined a project that is intended to help guard small websites from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
With Project Shield, websites will be able to service their content through Google's infrastructure, which will likely be able to better defend against a coordinated cyber attack.
"Project Shield is an initiative to expand Google's own Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation capabilities to protect free expression online," Google said on the project's website.
At this point, Google is "seeking new websites to try the service as trusted testers." As a result, it's currently invite-only, but if you run a website serving news, human rights, or elections-related content, you can apply to participate in Project Shield.
"Once a website has been sent an invite to become a 'trusted tester', they will receive an invite to join the Page Speed Service trusted tester program and configuration instructions on how to use the service for DDoS mitigation," Google said.
Page Speed Service automatically speeds up loading of Web pages by fetching content from servers, rewriting pages by applying Web performance best practices, and serving them to end users via Google's servers across the globe.
Google will email directions for getting started. "A webmaster with admin privileges and basic technical knowledge (e.g. comfortable configuring a web-server and modifying DNS records) should be able to set up the service very easily," the company said.
Google warned there's no way it can guarantee that participating sites won't be hit by DDoS attacks. But "Google has designed its infrastructure to defend itself from quite large attacks and this initiative is aimed at providing a similar level of protection to third-party websites," the firm said.
During the testing process, Project Shield will be free. Google might charge in the future, but participants will get 30-day notice. "We're hoping to offer the service to charities and non-profits at a reduced fee or at no cost in the future, but this is still under development," Google said.
To demonstrate the effects of DDoS attacks, Google Ideas and Arbor Networks launched a Digital Attack Map, which is a live data visualization of DDoS attacks around the globe. "The tool surfaces anonymous attack traffic data to let users explore historic trends and find reports of outages happening on a given day," the companies said.
For more, check out the video below.