A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. They target a wide variety of essential resources, from banks to news websites, and present a significant challenge to making sure people can publish and access valuable information.
What is a DDoS attack?
All sorts of threats out there today can threaten the integrity of your data, your clients’ data, and your servers. But a DDoS attack is different because it prevents your service or website from being available by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. The bandwidth is often not strong enough to handle the sudden influx of traffic, and it renders your site inaccessible.
This can be very frustrating to your clients and visitors, and it can influence your bounce rate and even discourage some from ever coming back to your site.
Why would people want to launch a DDoS attack?
A DDoS attack is usually motivated by competitors who want to shut you down or censors who want to shut you up. Why else would they launch a sudden traffic influx that is sufficient to crash your website? It is sometimes politically motivated if you offer content they don’t agree with, but it can just be a disgruntled client who wants your site to be unusable in the hopes your clients will come to them instead.
Either way, DDoS attacks are a type of cyberwarfare, a Black Hat technique, and they are illegal.
The best thing you can do is to protect yourself from the attack by putting certain things in place to discourage it.
To avoid this kind of attack, try the following steps.
- Strengthen Your Bandwidth
Since bandwidth suffers first in a DDoS attack, the best thing you can do to protect your website from a DDoS attack is to increase your bandwidth. The more bandwidth you have, the more your server can handle the attacks without shutting down your traffic. Consider the biggest companies with the servers that can handle millions of visitors at once like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Do you ever hear of them shutting down?
- DDoS Mitigation
Detecting a potential DDoS attack before it happens is one of the best things you can do to prevent a full blown attack. If you have a DDoS attack detection software or tool, you’ll be able to block the IP addresses that started the attack and even report them to authorities. You can redirect the incoming attack much like the US military shields incoming missile attacks in a time of war. By marking the IP addresses as dangerous, you may also be able to get some justice legally from the attack
- Hire an IT Specialist
DDoS attacks are real problems for a business. It may be worth it to hire a full-time or on-call IT specialist who can come to your rescue anytime you have a network problem of any kind. Find one who has experience with DDoS and other cyber attacks and security threats and try to focus on having a colocation of services model where one person or group of people handle all of your security issues.
The more your business grows and the more data you handle via your website, the more you may need this in place. Consider a DDoS specialist like a doctor who comes to the aid of your server and network and gives it a health checkup once in a while, while also being there to handle any security emergencies, backups, and so forth.
- Use your ISP Provider as a Backup
Some ISP providers offer a sort of shield from DDoS attacks as well as other internet security threats. Ask your internet service provider what kind of security measures they have taken to prevent DDoS attacks on the network but don’t rely on your ISP solely as your only protection. For something as important as internet security of your business on which your livelihood depends, you need to take extra steps to ensure that you are not a victim of these cyber attacks.
One tool you may want to look into is a VPN.
A VPN is a virtual private network that puts an extra layer of protection between you and the internet. You are, in fact, on a different server that is behind the basic internet so that your IP address is hidden. A VPN like CyberGhost, will basically hide your IP and aid with keeping your information secured and encrypted, and thus block browser tracking. This can be a virtual shield from incoming cyber-attacks and threats and may help you screen out many security issues.
- Find an integrated threat detection software
Colocation of services is always a good idea. It allows you to have one person or software solution to handle any incoming security threats the minute they happen. Cloud based network security firm Incapsula implements a full-time, automated threat detector that can handle DDoS threats, network breaches, and many other incoming security issues.
Beware of the big, bad wolf
There are many ways to protect yourself from a potential DDoS attack. The key is to be aware of these threats, as well as any other kind of security threat and protect what is yours online. A general rule of thumb is to grow your level of security in conjunction with the growth of your business. The bigger your demand is and the higher your competition, the more you may need this protection.
Remember that, while you’d like to think that everyone on the internet is honest and does things in the right way, that’s not always true. Competitors, censors, and hackers are everywhere. Protect yourself using these tips and look into some sort of DDoS protection before you get hit with an attack.
After all, what’s worse than having your customers denied the service you offer? This is censorship of the worst kind, and you must not allow it!
Most of all, be aware of the tools your enemies may use to defeat you and have your arsenal ready. Think of your server and your digital assets as your sheep and security threats as the wolf. Detect all threats before they happen. Protection and awareness are the keys!