Understanding DDoS attacks

Glenn W. Peterson

While cyber-crime in California can come in many forms, distributed denial-of-service attacks are an exceedingly common method that can be used to prohibit access to a business’s website. Understanding how and why these attacks occur is essential to website owners so they you can respond accordingly and mitigate any ill-effects.

Wired describes DDoS attacks as a massive influx of data to a server aimed at disrupting regular traffic. Using as many as thousands of computer systems spread out in different locations, hackers can utilize malicious software (known as a botnet) to send a flurry of information that will prevent others from visiting a website. While in the past these attacks often originated from a single system, the ability to use many different computers at once makes defeating DDoS assaults more difficult.

Such attacks can occur for numerous reasons. A website may be targeted by hackers due to political associations, or it may simply be the work of an unhappy former employee seeking revenge. In some cases DDoS attacks have been employed as a method of extortion, wherein hackers would disrupt service until their demands were sufficiently met. While these attacks often fail to afford any long-term damage, they can greatly impact the ability to engage in e-commerce for a period of time, which can be devastating for many internet-based businesses.

Although it may not be possible to prevent an attack from occurring, Information Week provides a few helpful tips for lessening its effects. For instance, active monitoring of a network for any increase in traffic can be a great first step towards identifying a potential attack. Being sufficiently prepared for any threats is also important. This involves knowing the current industry standards related to security and implementing those measures in a system.