If you’re a small business owner, or if you own Web space for any reason, one of the new threats that have no doubt begun to appear on your horizon is the potential of being attacked online. Fortunately for the hackers, not a lot of people understand what online attacks really are, how they pull them off, or how to effectively protect from it.
Most computer repair experts agree it is hard to guarantee 100 percent security, but you can take the necessary precautions to minimize damages if your security is ever compromised.
Taking precautions starts by understanding the dangers:
One of the most common types of attack that takes place these days is a DDOS, or Distributed Denial of Service attack. This type of attack is particularly effective because it doesn’t require an intimate knowledge of your security to be deployed. It just takes brute force.
Prior to the scheduled attack, the hacker will create a swarm of “zombie” computers — computers infected by the hacker’s software. This software allows the hacker to use the processing power of thousands of computers belonging to other people to bring down your server. When the attack commences, the hacker tells the zombie computers to simultaneously and continually load information from your Web server. If the attack is powerful enough, your server will stop serving. It will become unreachable so even legitimate visitors can’t access the site. While this intense strain is taking over your server, the hacker can try to slip into the back door unnoticed. This is where a lot of the actual financial loss associated with DDOS attacks come from.
Scared yet? Don’t be…too scared. Most DDOS attacks happen to high-profile sites that make a lot of money online and that have a lot to lose from even a temporary outage. But there’s still a chance it could happen to you for reasons beyond your control. So how do you protect against such a large-scale attack?
The easiest way is to talk to your in-house IT Department and have them work through the nine steps that help defend against a DDOS attack. No IT onsite? Then call your trusted IT or computer repair professionals and tell them you want to prepare for a DDOS attack. They can best help you and recommend plans to upgrade your servers or to install special software that can determine legitimate traffic from DDOS attacks. They might also want to talk with you about the current security software you’re using. An off-the-shelf program probably won’t defend very well against this new type of attack, so talk with your IT professional about the options available to you.
As always, the best defense is vigilance. As you’re managing your website, be sure to note any suspicious traffic, educate your staff on safe practices and call your computer repair professionals as soon as you note suspicious activity. Most likely it won’t be anything, but it never hurts to ask.
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