Understanding DDoS Attacks

February 24, 2017

The acronym “DDoS” is becoming very common in today’s social media and news outlets. With continual increases in technology, the number of DDoS attacks has skyrocketed. But what does that mean exactly? DDoS stands for a distributed denial of service and, to put in simpler terms, it renders services unavailable. It can happen anywhere in the world with an internet connection. These attacks crash services by crowding them with traffic from many different places. Servers unable to handle such traffic become overwhelmed. With internet services down, information is unable to be provided to the people. This lack of service can prove detrimental to any affected company or website. Such an attack can destroy a small organization by decimating its online presence.

How is that possible?

So how could something like this even happen? Computers, as smart as they are, can be infected with software that can make it possible for them to be hacked, shut down, or controlled remotely. This software spreads through a number of ways, such as emails or websites, leaving an infected computer controllable in a network with other infected computers. For something with such terrible consequences, often detection on one’s computer happens after something goes wrong! Launchable from anywhere, these attacks can affect areas on an international scale. People not capable of generating such attacks themselves can purchase wide-spread or specialized attacks on the black market. With a minimal cost attached to them, such people can easily obtain these attacks.

Preparation and Prevention

While this may seem like an online-presence death sentence, there are plenty of ways to prepare in case of an attack or fight one when it happens. If a company or an individual runs their own server, they have the ability to familiarize themselves with normal inbound traffic to their website. When traffic is monitored and a pattern is noticed, any unusual spike in traffic will be detected fairly early on. If an attack is suspected, many things can be done to lessen the effects, such as adding filters to your router to recognize obvious attacks and drop their packets. However, if you don’t run your own web server, you can call your hosting provider and tell them that you suspect you’re under attack and they can help you from there.

It is always best to catch it early on and fight it to prevent a high amount of the damage. While these attacks are stressful and scary, there are always advantages to being on top of your server and its usual/unusual activities. Using a scrubbing center or any mitigation services can cost you. However, it is important to protect yourself and your business. There are many options for security before a DDoS attack occurs. Even after one happens you can take many steps to secure your online presence, making it possible to come out on the other side with little to no adverse effects!

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