The Current Situation
It's no secret that DALnet has suffered massive attacks recently, far greater than anything we've seen before. We've been ravaged by DDoS attacksin the gbps range, attacks which are not just crippling our IRC servers, but causing disruption to the providers who host those servers. Given that fact, and the tendency for gossip in these situations, I know that some people are saying 'DALnet is dead'.
Well it's not.
At the moment most of our client servers are down, but they are by no means 'out'. It is, however, a fact that whilst these attacks continue it would be unwise for us to bring back all our servers and possibly cause disruption to our sponsors' networks. I know some people will find that hard to understand, or perhaps even paradoxical, but there really is more at stake here than one IRC network. I think a fair few staff from other IRC networks understand this, because we've had a lot of help from them during this time, and that we're very grateful for. Why do I say that more than DALnet is at stake? Well, because the more these people amass herds of infected computers (botnets) to attack IRC servers with, the more service providers will quickly come to the conclusion that hosting an IRC server is a liability. All ready many providers simply won't countenance hosting an IRC server and if this random vandalism continues, the harder it will be for non-profit IRC to continue in any reasonable form at all. That could jeopardise the future for *all* IRC networks, not simply DALnet.
So, what are DALnet doing right now? Well, it could be said that, in a way, these criminals have given us a golden opportunity to look at how DALnet is run and see where we can improve. Whilst our client servers are down, we've been busy brainstorming on what we can do to make our network more robust and to deliver a more pleasant user-experience in general. Contrary to what has been said on another IRC news site, these discussions have continued amicably both on the DALnet server administrators list, and with lots of fantastic input from Operators on the general staff mailing list. Some of the ideas tabled we're exploring and testing, and I'm sure that the best of them will be implemented. Whilst this is happening we are, of course, also pursuing investigations into the people who are engaging in these criminal acts against our network's servers and the networks who host them.
I should expect that the biggest question on everyone's minds right now is when DALnet's service will return to normal. That is, unfortunately, not a question I have an immediate answer for since we do need to stop these continuing attacks first. I'm confident, however, that we will do that since the radius of interest in them has spread far beyond the realms of DALnet and IRC. I'm also confident that, when we are able to open our doors fully to the public again, they will return to find a refreshed and vibrant network that has returned to its roots of being an innovative and friendly network. A network that's more concerned with quality than quantity, and a network that is looking towards the future rather than resting on the laurels of the past.
Lastly, I know that the staff of DALnet has found the messages of support and thanks that have flooded in from well-wishers and users alike very heart-warming. It is this support that spurs us on and makes us determined, not only to survive this situation, but to go on to be a network they can be proud of again. To those people, we give our utmost thanks.
©Emma (firstname.lastname@example.org) 2002