DDoS Attack On Websites

DDoS Attack On Websites
DDoS Attack On Websites

Within minutes, a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack can bring your website traffic to a halt. Recovering from such a DDoS attack can cost small businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars. Preventing DDoS attacks is cheaper and easier than recovering from them.

Why Is A DDoS Attack Destructive?

There are several variants of DDoS attacks, but generally, cybercriminals use these types of attacks to block legitimate traffic to a website. Multiple remote control computers on different networks send "fake" requests to the server. The network of machines used to launch the attack is called a "botnet".

Often, too many requests cause the host server to crash, taking the target website offline. Even if the attack fails to crash the website, it may slow it down to make it unusable for visitors.

The Cost Of A DDoS Attack

The loss of legitimate website traffic following a DDoS attack can be costly to businesses of all sizes. According to a 2018 study from Coreo, DDoS attack victims can lose up to $50,000 in business revenue per attack.

However, for most companies hit by a DDoS attack, reputational damage is more difficult to recover than financial damage. Failure to protect yourself on the Internet is a surefire way to lose customer trust, and that trust is hard to win back.

Why Do People Launch DDoS Attacks?

While DDoS attacks are costly to victims, they are relatively inexpensive to execute for cybercriminals, which is one reason for their growing popularity. Cybercriminals do not gain any financial gain directly from a DDoS attack (unless a third party pays them to execute the attack). Often, cybercriminals use DDoS attacks as a distraction to grab the attention of targeted organizations while data theft or malware injection is going on behind the scenes. Other motives can be political, self-centered, or retaliatory, and almost anyone can hire cybercriminals to carry out DDoS attacks.

Spotting The Signs Of A DDoS Attack

Diagnosing a DDoS attack can be tricky because the symptoms of an attack often resemble non-malicious availability issues, such as slow site speeds or network problems. However, if the connection to your site is unusually slow, or if your site is completely unable to connect to the network, you may be experiencing signs of a DDoS attack. Likewise, if you notice an unusual or unexpected surge in website traffic lasting days rather than just hours or a significant surge in spam emails, you may be under attack.

How Are DDoS Attacks Prevented?

Your first line of defense should be a web application firewall (WAF), which can protect your website against even the most potent DDoS threats. WAFs with DDoS support redirect malicious traffic to other content delivery networks, distributing the load away from the server. You can use your firewall in conjunction with a website scanner or some other intrusion detection system to identify malicious bot traffic and remove malware promptly.

Some administrators will also create alerts that notify them when an anomalous traffic load is detected or automatically drop network packets that fit certain criteria. Even if you don’t have the technical expertise to do this on your own, your firewall and web scanner will make it relatively easy for you to detect and eliminate threats.

If a cybercriminal does successfully execute an attack against your site, your WAF will be able to assist you in mitigating it. On the other hand, there’s no way to fully disrupt a DDoS attack without a firewall. If you’re targeted and you don’t have one in place, you’ll most likely have to ride out the attack.

As a small business owner, knowing how to prevent DDoS attacks on your website is critical. These attacks will only become more common in the future. Especially as insecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices become more commonplace, cybercriminals will have more and more attack vectors. Don't make yourself an easy target; take immediate steps to strengthen the security of all your devices.