What is a DDoS attack?
A Distributed Denial of Service attack – or a DDoS attack – is one that overwhelms the traffic for an online service such as a website by using a variety of sources.
Thousands of DDoS attacks occur each day across the world.
The facts about DDoS
According to TrendMicro research, for as little as $150 on the black market, a week-long DDoS attack can be purchased.
DDoS attacks deny computer users with access to certain system resources, and the intent is typically not for theft purposes, but to instead damage a computer or paralyze a website.
A DDoS attack uses a number of computers to flood the targeted server with traffic.
As the target tries to deal with all of those requests that come flooding in, ordinary users are often blocked from using that site and its services.
Perhaps the largest DDoS attack ever recorded occurred in October 2016, when the attack disrupted much of the Internet in the United States.
Servers belonging to Dyn, which controls many of the Internet’s Domain Name System infrastructure, were the targets of the attack that began with a bonnet.
The result of the attack was a temporary disruption to sites like CNN, Netflix, and Twitter.
Investigators believe hackers looking for attention carried out the October 2016 DDoS attack.
While many hackers who use DDoS attacks are only out to cause damage, many benefit financially from their efforts.
Sometimes, hackers demand a sort of ransom in lieu of carrying out an attack against a particular website.
Some security experts believe hackers are also paid to target companies in what is known as “industrial sabotage.”
By using DDoS attacks and hackers looking to make a quick buck, seedy companies can take down their competitors, even if only momentarily, to gain some advantage or extract revenge.
But there’s also the potential that DDoS attacks are being used as a distraction.
While victims of an attack work to protect their system from shutting down, hackers may be off to the side stealing bank account information, Social Security Numbers, usernames or passwords.
Protecting against a DDoS attack
If your company stands the chance of being targeted with a DDoS attack, prepare for the worst.
Use a script that checks on traffic counts and sends a warning if the traffic skyrockets.
Blocking an IP address typically won’t stop or protect against an attack, because traffic that is flooding the system is usually from a whole lot of sources.
Experts may, however, be able to find similarities in the traffic, which could help firewalls or routers fend off the traffic.
Some hardware is designed to detect and filter out dangerous traffic, although experts are typically required to operate and install those devices.
It’s also necessary to consistently update the hardware to detect the latest threats.
In some instances, Internet Service Providers can help with DDoS attacks.