On February 21st and 22nd 2021, podcast host Buzzsprout was hit - and hit hard - by a DDoS attack.
For those who haven't stumbled over such a thing before, it's a hacker barraging a web server with so much stuff, that it risks falling over - and the hackers getting in. That's a slightly uneducated, very brief overview of course.
If you're a Buzzsprout customer, you will doubtless know that the hackers demanded money, podcast episode deliveries were delayed by many hours and the FBI were informed.
To Buzzsprout's credit, they say no data was compromised, they refused to pay out to the criminals AND donated the ransom amount to charity, whilst offsetting the increased energy needs of fending off an attack to Project Vesta, effectively offsetting their carbon footprint from the fight.
I'm not a direct Buzzsprout customer but I do have clients who use their service and I am hugely impressed by their response, attitude and mindset in what must have been a challenging 48 hours. You can read the full post mortem here.
I suppose what I'm saying is this: if you are in any doubt how big podcasting is becoming, take a look at the hackers. If you were looking to make a decent chunk of money, you wouldn't attack a toy shop in Weston Super-Mare, you'd go for a big player. And with over 50% of the U.S. listening to a podcast every week (and the UK at 7-8 million, even pre-pandemic), the big players in podcasting are unsurprisingly being seen as big fish in the pond.
And aside from that, I personally take inspiration by the way that Buzzsprout handled a major crisis - with dignity, charity and transparency. Shortly after the Buzzsprout attack, Podbean suffered similar.
Finally, if none of the above connects with you in any way, consider this a lesson. Ensure your podcast episodes are "in the can" WAY ahead of time. There's every chance that if you had tried to upload your audio to one of the two providers mentioned during their crises, it would have failed - and perhaps taken a good bit longer than those who already had their audio loaded and scheduled. You would have a delay either way, but possibly a shorter one with a little planning.