It is becoming increasingly common for organisations to be hit by online attacks which render their website unable to service legitimate requests. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is not a form of hacking, but simply an orchestrated overload of concurrent visitors, swamping your web infrastructure. Such attacks are frequently caused not by many people visiting the site at one time to reduce its efficiency or even ‘crash’ it, but by a botnet (network of infected robot computers) being remotely controlled to do so by cybercriminals. Most victims are high profile organisations such as multinationals, government agencies and banks / other financial services providers. However, no organisation with a website is immune.
Get Safe Online's top tips...
Consider the likelihood and risks to your organisation of a DDoS attack, and put appropriate threat reduction / mitigation measures in place.
If you consider that protection is necessary, speak to a DDoS prevention specialist.
Whetther you are at risk of a DDoS attack or not, you should have the hosting facilities in place to handle large, unexpected volumes of website hits.
Motives for a DDoS attack
Blackmail / extortion.
Negatively affecting or even destroying your reputation.
Unfair competition (exploiting your loss of service to gain your affected customers).
A grudge against you or your business.
The desire to gain credibility amongst the criminal fraternity.
Protecting your business
In technical terms, DDoS attacks can come in many forms, and like many aspects of the internet require in-depth knowledge to fully understand and guard against them.
If you have reason to believe that you are a potential target of a DDoS attack, we recommend that you locate and consult a DDoS protection specialist who is equipped with this knowledge and the accompanying tools to protect your business. He / she should be able to recommend and implement a technical solution to mitigate the threat to your business.
Every organisation with a website should ensure that it is protected as much as possible against unusually high (and unanticipated) volumes of both unlawful and legitimate traffic.
You should conduct a risk assessment, considering all reasonable eventualities, and have in place the web server capacity, bandwidth and processing power to handle large concurrent volumes. Arrange with your hosting provider to facilitate flexible and proactive handling of short- or no-warning loads and consider load-balancing to multiple servers. These arrangements will come at a cost, but you will have to balance this against the risks and consequences to your business and may be able to negotiate.