Have you ever attempted to visit your favorite news website during a breaking story only to find that it loaded incredibly slow? Or maybe it wouldn’t even load at all? This was caused by too many people attempting to view the same website at the same time.
And although these instances aren’t as commonplace as they once were, the vulnerability in how websites are hosted has been shown and is now being used for malicious purposes.
If you operate a business with IT infrastructure then this article has information about why you should take steps to secure your devices and your network.
A Distributed Denial of Service attack.
DDoS, for short.
A DDoS attack is one in which a hacker targets a website and causes it to crash, leaving it inoperable. It works like this.
- One of your employees receives an email which looks to be from one of your IT partners or even your telephony company.
- The email requests that the reader install an attached update file to help secure their PC. Assuming that this is genuine, your employee opens the attachment
- A small command box appears and then disappears almost as quickly
- Nobody says anything to anybody
What actually happened in the above example is the employee installed a malicious tool which enabled a hacker access to their computer and, in turn, the other computers on your network. The reason isn’t to steal your data, however. It’s to hijack your machines to use them in an attack.
The attack works like this.
- A hacker targets the website of a specific company, service, or government department
- The hacker calls up the list of infected computers it has managed to infiltrate through similar schemes of sending emails mentioned above.
- The hacker commands each of these computers (in the millions) to all visit a single website at one
- The website receives so many requests that it is unable to function and crashes
The difference between this example and the news website example is that a real person is likely to stop requesting the page and move to another page to get their information. This gives the company time to get their site back online.
With a DDoS, however, the hosting service is attempting to return a site to service which still being under attack.
Protecting Your Computers From This Activity.
While their prime motive may not be to gain access to your business information, they have taken the steps needed, and one of your employees took the bait.
With this in mind, the best way to defend your computers and business network from being used in this type of way is to educate your staff. However, instead of simply telling them not to use the internet, teach them that it’s more than safe to visit trusted sites like the Groupon Coupons page for Nine West alongside showing them on how to identify malicious looking emails and who to notify if they believe they have received something they shouldn’t.
Of course, it’s also important that you stay up to date with all available software patches and security fixes your vendors make available.