In general, a business would wish to encourage as much traffic to their website as possible. Because leads result in visitors, and visitors will hopefully result in customers. The majority of the time this is the case, and website traffic is a positive thing. However, from time to time, it can be used to have a negative impact on your business.
Unfortunately, DDoS attacks are becoming more common and, even if the attacker isn’t aiming to gain money out of the attack, your clients could be at risk.
What exactly is a DDoS attack?
DDos is an acronym for Distributed Denial of Service, but what makes them such a threat to business?
A DDoS attack generally involves an attacker sending a variety of data or transactions over the network to the intended victims website – the victim is always intended. This is done with the aim to make certain services unavailable to users, and would usually intend to put a website completely out of action.
In many cases innocent third parties whose computers have been infected with malware or a virus may be leveraged unknowingly to assist in these attacks.
How are these attacks carried out?
There are two main ways in which DDoS attacks can be executed:
- Network layer DDoS attacks: This is when an attacker introduces a surge of data to the target’s network with the aim of taking up all of the network’s available bandwidth. This can result in the server crashing because of the large number of requests it receives. However, these attacks can also cause problems with internet service provider links, routers, switches and firewalls.
- Application Layer DDoS attacks: These attacks are slightly more sophisticated in the way that they target a website’s specific function, generally with an aim of disabling them and blocking access to databases. However, they do still attempt to overload the server by sending large numbers of malicious requests but they do so whilst appearing as non-malicious traffic meaning they are harder to track. Also, these type of attackers make themselves more elusive by making their attacks random, so victims can’t locate the problem and correct it.
Both attacks can cause damage to a business, but a combination of the two would be detrimental.
How would you know you’re a victim?
To stand a chance of fixing the damage, you need to know what to look out for:
- reduced speed network performance
- trouble accessing files or websites
- an increase in SPAM emails
- problems connecting to wireless or wired internet connections
- inability to access internet services for a prolonged time
What are the other impacts of being targeted?
If your website is down, it gives a competitor’s website a better chance of getting visitors which could negatively impact your revenue in the long run. A website that doesn’t operate correctly could also suggest that you’re not as professional as your competition and might make customers concerned that any personal information stored in your databases are unsafe.
DDoS attacks are just one reason that you, as a business, should be fully aware of what is happening with regards to your website traffic. Having not only a recovery plan, but data backup plan in place is essential.
[Photo Credit: factoryjoe ]