For roughly ten years, Cloudflare has made a name for itself by protecting websites against malicious floods of traffic. Now, the company is extending its DDoS safeguards to other services connected to the Internet — like games and email servers, and internet of things (IoT) devices.
Spectrum works much in the same way as the mainstream Cloudflare product. It works by proxying Internet traffic through the company’s globally-distributed data centers.
Cloudflare’s software automatically routes users through the most geographically-close data center, in order to offer the fastest speeds. It also automatically discards traffic it believes to be malicious, like what you’d see with a DDoS attack, ensuring sites cannot be easily felled.
With Spectrum, this protection is extended beyond websites. It works with pretty much anything you’d connect to the Internet.
There’s certainly a need for this type of tool. In recent years, DDoS attacks have increased in size and potency, but have also gone after some pretty non-traditional targets. When Pokémon Go launched in 2016, it was almost immediately struck by a DDoS attack that temporarily halted gameplay for millions. Later that year, a huge swathe of the Internet was disrupted after attackers targeted Dyn — a major provider of DNS services.
In addition to offering DDoS protection and faster connections, Cloudflare also reckons Spectrum will extend the security of some older legacy software products. For example, if a workplace uses an old piece of software that doesn’t support transport-level encryption, Spectrum will automatically protect it without causing any compatibility headaches.
In a statement, Cloudflare CEO Michael Prince said: “Cloudflare has always been focused on improving the Internet experience for users around the world, but until now, we’ve only protected and accelerated web protocols. Spectrum represents a huge step in helping to build a better Internet, as we open the power of Cloudflare to protocols beyond the web.”
Unlike the standard Cloudflare product, which is available to sites large and small, Spectrum will at first only be available to the company’s larger enterprise clients.