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What is a DDoS Attack?

Jacob Porter – Senior Engineer

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Cybercrime is a widespread problem for all businesses, but small businesses face a particularly severe risk.

Cyber attacks can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to systems, halt your operations, or even land you with fines due to a data protection breach.

Only 16% of small businesses are very confident in their cyber security readiness, and many business owners are not familiar with the threats posed by a cyber attack.

Denial of Service – DoS

One type of cyber attack that your and your business could be a victim of is a denial of service attack.

These attacks are commonly used by hacker groups to force websites to go offline.

Denial-of-service attacks are usually achieved by overloading web servers or by transmitting data that cause a web server to crash.   

This can be achieved through buffer overflow attacks where attackers use up server resources.

It can also be done with flood attacks, where oversaturate server capacity can use up a server’s bandwidth.

Distributed Denial of Service – DDoS

A Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) attack is very similar in nature, however, it uses many distributed sources or botnets to push servers offline. This helps attackers reach the bandwidth needed to push large websites offline.

How can this affect my business?

Denial of service attacks can affect a company’s sales through costly downtime, damaged hardware and damage to your business’s reputation.

A high-profile example of a DDoS attack came in 2020, when google monitored the largest DDoS attack they had ever seen.

The attacker used several networks to spoof 167 Mpps (millions of packets per second) to 180,000 exposed servers.

This demonstrates the volumes a well-resourced attacker can achieve

How can I protect my business from such attacks?

Your website is probably one of the most important assets your business has, so keeping it online is important

There are some simple steps every business can take to ensure a basic level of security against DDoS threats.

These include best practices such as using complex passwords, mandating password resets every couple of months and avoiding storing or writing down passwords in notes.

You’ve probably heard this many times before, but you would be surprised by how many businesses are compromised by neglecting basic password security.

It is also important to be aware of legacy and outdated systems in your infrastructure. These can often be the entry points for attacks once they are compromised. Keep your data centre and systems updated and patch your web application firewalls and other network security programs.

Despite all of this, you may still be attacked, so what should you do?

You should immediately contact your IT Support who will be able to assist you with next steps.

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