The decentralized nature of Web3, with its blockchain and smart contract technologies, has revolutionized the way we think about data and the internet. However, this distributed architecture also makes Web3 vulnerable to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. In this blog post, we will discuss how IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) and distributed storage can play a significant role in defending against DDoS attacks in Web3.
What is IPFS?
IPFS is a distributed file system that aims to replace the traditional client-server model of the web with a peer-to-peer network. It uses content-based addressing to identify files and is designed to be more efficient and resilient than HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), the primary protocol used on the web today. IPFS has gained popularity in the Web3 space due to its decentralized and secure nature.
There are two types of resources on IPFS:
(1) Files. These are files that can be retrieved, copied, modified and deleted.
(2) Blocks. These are collections of data that form a site’s content which can contain any type of file or collection of files like a git repository or torrent tracker.
How Does IPFS Work?
IPFS works by breaking files into small chunks and storing them across multiple nodes in the network. Each file is identified by a unique hash, making it immutable and tamper-proof. When a user requests a file, the IPFS protocol retrieves the chunks from multiple nodes, verifies their integrity using the hash, and reassembles them into the original file. This approach reduces the reliance on a single server and enables faster and more efficient content delivery.
What is Distributed Storage?
Distributed storage is a process of storing data across multiple nodes in a network, rather than on a single server or data center. This approach improves the reliability and availability of data, as any node can provide access to the data, and a failure in one node does not affect the entire system. Distributed storage is a critical component of Web3, as it allows for the creation of decentralized applications that are not reliant on a single point of failure.
How can IPFS and Distributed Storage Help in DDoS Defense?
DDoS attacks aim to overwhelm a server or network with requests, causing it to crash or become unavailable. By distributing data across multiple nodes in a network, IPFS and distributed storage can help mitigate the impact of DDoS attacks in the following ways:
- Reducing the Impact of Traffic Spikes
In a traditional client-server model, a sudden surge in traffic can overwhelm the server and cause it to crash. With IPFS and distributed storage, the load is distributed across multiple nodes, which can handle the traffic spikes more effectively. This approach ensures that the network remains available, even under high traffic loads.
- Avoiding Single Points of Failure
In a centralized server-based architecture, a single point of failure can bring down the entire system. However, with IPFS and distributed storage, data is replicated across multiple nodes, ensuring that there is no single point of failure. Even if one node fails, the data can be accessed from other nodes in the network, ensuring continuity of service.
- Deterrent against DDoS Attacks
Since IPFS and distributed storage distribute data across multiple nodes, attackers cannot focus on a single node or server, making it harder to carry out a DDoS attack. This approach reduces the effectiveness of DDoS attacks, as attackers need to overwhelm multiple nodes simultaneously to bring down the network.
- Lowering the Cost of DDoS Defense
Traditional DDoS defense solutions rely on centralized infrastructure, such as firewalls and load balancers, which can be expensive to deploy and maintain. With IPFS and distributed storage, the infrastructure is distributed, reducing the cost of deploying and maintaining DDoS defense solutions.
IPFS and distributed storage can play a crucial role in defending against DDoS attacks in Web3. The distributed nature of these technologies reduces the impact of traffic spikes, avoids single points of failure, deters attackers, and lowers the cost of DDoS defense . For example, if a Web site is DDoS-attacked and succeeds in getting their traffic back to a normal level, there is no need to pay for the same service again.In this context, one advantage of using DHTs over centralized storage solutions is that they may offer greater redundancy and resilience than central stores. However, as we mentioned earlier in the chapter, DHTs also come with some complexity in terms of implementation (e.g., finding peers) and usage (e.g., designing queries).