A massive flood of web traffic originating from smartphones in China was used in an attempt to disrupt an unnamed web server, according to security researchers at CloudFlare.
The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack peaked at over 275,000 HTTP requests per second and resulted in 4.5 billion hits on the targeted website.
The attack has been blamed on malicious advertising networks that compromised up to 650,000 smartphones.
Marek Majkowski, DDoS mitigation expert at CloudFlare, said that the firm's servers are constantly being targeted by DDoS attacks, from DNS reflection to Level7 HTTP botnet floods, yet this attack caught his attention because of the high levels of traffic involved.
"Attacks like this form a new trend. They present a great danger in the internet. Defending against this type of flood is not easy for small website operators."
An analysis of the attack logs found that 80 percent of the traffic originated from mobile devices, nearly all of which were from Chinese IP addresses.
Furthermore, analysis of the logs revealed the names MetaSr, F1Browser, QQBrowser and UCBrowser, all common browser applications in China.
CloudFlare has speculated on the DDoS process. First, a web user opening an application on a smartphone is served an iframe with an advertisement.
Nick Sullivan, researcher at CloudFlare, outlined earlier this year how DDoS techniques have diversified in recent years.
The website affected in the latest attack, which featured a significant amount of web traffic being deployed, has not been named by CloudFlare.
Scientists create a virtual reality simulation of a black hole sitting at the centre of the Milky Way
Simulations like this can help people understand complicated systems in the universe in a better way
The most luminous galaxy ever discovered is cannibalising at least three of its smaller neighbours, study finds
The galaxy radiates at 350 trillion times the luminosity of the Sun
Researchers modify genetic code of cancer-killing virus so it can target cells that protect cancer from immune system
Changing the genetic coding causes the infected cancer cells to produce a protein that kills the fibroblast cells that protect cancer
The findings can help improve the current understanding of brain development disorders, such as epilepsy or autism