Lately, DDoS attacks have crept back into the headlines, forcing businesses to reacquaint themselves with the concept. DDoS stands for distributed denial-of-service which uses multiple machines to carry out a DoS attack on unsuspecting victims. It is estimated that over 7,000 attacks happen daily with the motives and severity of consequences varying between different attacks but all have the potential to greatly harm a company’s operations. To minimize any possible damage, it is important to prepare a defense against these malicious attacks especially as they are on the rise and could target your business at any moment.
How to realize you are in the midst of a DDoS attack
At the beginning of a DDoS attack, you may fail to even realize what is occurring. The optimistic side of you wants to believe that your marketing efforts have finally kicked in and created a sudden wave of interested customers to your website. However great that may be, the reality is as the numbers increase and overwhelm your servers, you are more likely to be under attack. When a DDoS attack occurs they are using one of two avenues: a special malware that infects the machines of others in order to carry out the attack from a large number of hosts or utilizing a large number of volunteers to their cause to perform the attack in unison. Regardless of the technique employed, they both use many host computers to access the target’s website and overwhelm their servers which results in long periods of downtime.
Why Attackers Target You
The reasons behind DDoS attacks can vary depending on the organization performing the attack and who they are attacking. The most common reason behind an attack is extortion where they perform a small attack on your servers first, then contact you demanding a certain amount of money to prevent a larger attack from occurring. The more profitable a company you are, the higher the chance you will be a target for extortion. Also, if your organization is currently in the spotlight for political controversy, there are many “hacktivists,” like the group Anonymous, who carry out DDoS attacks to satisfy their political agenda. Lastly, in sophisticated and large-scale attacks, the hackers could be attempting a security breach in order to obtain confidential information. All of these causes could create a devastating impact upon your company’s image.
The Effects of DDoS Attacks
The more heavily you rely on your website as a means for business, the more severe a DDoS attack will affect your company. The average daily revenue loss from attacks for those that depend heavily on the Internet for their business is $2,000,000 or nearly $100,000 per hour. Even if you are a smaller organization with less reliance on the Internet, the average loss is $10,000 per hour when in downtime. These are significant amounts of losses that could be hard to recover from, especially for a small business.
As a DDoS attack is occurring, it becomes nearly impossible for any customer to access your website and results in an unpleasant experience for them. For instance, if you are a banking website, they can’t access their accounts which is very critical and leaves them feeling like their private information is at risk. Even after the attack is over, you will have to spend time and money in public relations efforts to reinstate faith in your service from your customer base.
When the attack breaches security and confidential information, a risk for lawsuits from customers and consumer protection groups occurs. Now you are not only looking at revenue loss from the downtime and from a loss of reputation but also, significant legal fees associated with your company failing to protect customer information. If all three occur, the DDoS attack could be enough to send your company into bankruptcy and impending failure.
How to Protect Your Company
The devastating effects from a DDoS attack is enough to leave you shaking in your boots, however most companies still fail to provide adequate protection against said attacks. As the sophistication of these attacks increase, your company’s firewall and current security measures may not be enough to handle a full-scale attack. In a recent survey, Neustar only found that 3% of the surveyed organizations had an anti-DoS solution. Here are some steps you should take to protect your company in the event of a DDoS attack:
- Develop a defense strategy immediately so you are prepared to take action when an attack occurs.
- Identify current security lapses or vulnerabilities within your website.
- If you have been a victim from an attack, keep information collected about it so you can determine how to properly fight off future attacks
- Simulate a DDoS attack to ensure your response measures are adequate.
- Consider purchasing an anti-DoS service from a security provider to narrow the possibility of attack.
- Combine anti-DoS service with the above steps to provide a comprehensive approach to protection.
As DDoS attacks are on the rise, now is the time to prepare your company in the event of attack. Even smaller organizations could become victims, so it is important to be ready to defend your company’s website and servers from hackers. Following the steps for protection can prevent a DDoS attack from causing results that could be extremely difficult to recover from, allowing you to come out victorious in an otherwise disastrous situation.