elb's Blog

Google Talk Denial of Service

(Original post 2009-02-01)

As some of you may have noticed, our XMPP Multi-user Chat (MUC) has been under a pretty steady denial of service attack from Google Talk for some time now. An apparent bug in the Google Talk XMPP implementation not only prevents Google Talk users from effectively joining the MUC, but causes every user who tries to generate a pair of join/part messages every five minutes on a server-induced heartbeat. This has completely swamped attempted conversation in the MUC, as there are quite a few users with Google Talk XMPP accounts attempting to join the conversation.

We are likely to ban gmail.com connections to the MUC in the near future, pending resolution of this problem. We had hoped that Google would take notice and fix things in a timely manner, but the damage to productivity has become great enough that we're going to have to take steps on our own. Apologies to any gmail users who might wish to join the conference — but you may rest assured that your current connections aren't working, anyway, so we're not really taking anything from you.

Some more information on this situation has crossed the jabber.org Operators mailing list.

Update 2009-02-03: This problem appears to have been fixed by Google; thanks to Google for getting on it, and for supporting this open protocol!