Verizon Media (CDN) Develops AI for Cloud Security


Verizon Media, formerly VDMS is no longer just a media-based CDN. They’ve embraced cloud security product innovation and are focused on becoming a leader in this area. The current industry trend is to build your own security stack, then integrate it into the CDN stack. In this case, the security stack is WAF and DDoS protection. Verizon Media, Cloudflare, and Fastly are the leaders in this category.

The primary benefit of building/integrating WAF and DDoS protection into the CDN, it eliminates the need for dedicated scrubbing centers. When Akamai acquired Prolexic, they acquired them for their technology and dedicated scrubbing center infrastructure capacity. A scrubbing center is a PoP designed specifically to mitigate network and application attacks. Operating any number of scrubbing centers is expensive, as it requires capital for colocation, transit, power, servers, etc. Another benefit of an integrated stack – better performance, in that incoming requests flow through the same systems used for content delivery, as opposed to traveling to another stack located in a different PoP.   

Verizon Media has built an open source CDN-scale WAF called waflz and an automated, software-defined DDoS protection service called Stonefish. The most impressive product is the AI powered threat management system.  

  • waflz: open source CDN-scale WAF built from scratch. It plugs into their Sailfish caching software
  • Stonefish: automated, software-defined, DDoS mitigation service that protects against layer 3 and layer 4 attacks
  • AI Threat Management: machine learning neural network system that collects input from incoming requests and feeds the outputs to the WAF which it then uses to protect against the more sophisticated attacks 

Stonefish and waflz are ideal products for cloud applications vs the traditional security appliance and scrubbing center. And the Verizon Media AI threat management system sets the bar for cloud security innovation within the industry.

It was only a matter of time before AI would make its way into the CDN industry, and Verizon Media has a head start. We expect others to follow suit next year. AI technology will change the CDN stack for the better, improving areas in security, caching, networking, analytics, monitoring, and more.  

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