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Google opens up Project Shield to publishers to fight traffic attacks

Google opened up Project Shield this week (24 February), a free tool that offers independent news organisations security against traffic attacks.

Project Shield originally launched in 2013 to offer select organisations the same Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS_ protection used by Google itself, but now that offering is available to all businesses.

Project Shield works by using a technology called a reverse proxy, which lets Google identify and stop "bad traffic" before it reaches a business’ server.

DDoS attacks are an increasing threat to news sites, and Google opened up Project Shield in response to industry demand for better security, confirmed Madhav Chinnappa, head of strategic relations for News and publishers at Google. A notable attack knocked the BBC's news site offline in December.

While some have voiced concerns over the risk that legitimate visitors can be blocked with the technology, Chinnappa assured The Drum the technology that Google uses is very advanced and can differentiate between bad actors and legitimate users.

While useful, the product doesn't offer the same level of customisation as commercial services. In response to this, Google said they are “having conversations with bigger organisations” to improve its offering: “The requirement from bigger organisations with security is more complicated, so we are looking into that," added Chinnappa