123-Reg, the largest British website hosting company suffered from a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack earlier this month and in the recent past, Tumblr, Steam and WikiLeaks have all been high profile targets. 49% of business were affected by this type of attack in 2016 and experts believe that 2017 will see the most disruption yet.
So what is a DDoS attack? In short, it is one which makes online services unavailable. Attackers target an IP address with an overwhelming stream of traffic, from multiple sources, rendering the recipient overwhelmed and incapable of doing anything. They can choose to target any IP address they wish, from e-commerce sites, such as Amazon; music streaming services such as Spotify; to government institutions – no-one is safe. There are several reasons a site may be targeted by DDoS malware, from a political statement to simple grievances, and in some cases to make ransom demands on website owners; but no matter the justification, DDoS presents a major challenge to making sure people can publish and access important information.
DDoS attacks can be arranged through online marketplaces which specialise in selling malicious malware. This allows individuals to buy and sell botnets (and other malware) for a nominal fee. A week-long DDoS attack, capable of taking down a small organisation can cost as little as $150 and over 2,000 attacks have been observed daily.
Reports from DDoS security service Nexusguard show that attacks fell by more than 40%, to 97,700, in the second quarter of 2016, however, do not be fooled: the number of attacks may have fallen, but the speed and size of DDoS attacks have grown exponentially. No one is safe and Terrence Gareau, Chief Scientist for Nexusguard stated-:
“Few service providers can sustain the level of malicious traffic we saw in Q3 from IoT (Internet of Things) botnets, so these DDoS outages are causing companies to completely rethink their cyber security strategies.”
To protect yourself there is something you can do. Through our BT Partnership, CommsFM can offer DDoS protection, which works by ‘cleaning’ the traffic presented to you at a network level. When an unusual quantity or type of traffic is detected, the protection system is activated and the process begins separating DDoS attack traffic from the normal requests to your server, website, email etc. This prevents your IP address from experiencing any downtime, allowing your business to continue as usual, regardless of the scale or frequency of attacks. There are three levels of cover available (Bronze, Silver and Gold) so you can get the cover you need for your business.
Should you wish to discuss mitigating the risks presented by DDoS just get in touch.