One of the dangers that computer network support teams have to deal with is a DDoS attack. DDOS stands for “distributed denial of service” and it can happen at any time. It happens as a result of attackers making an online service unable to operate by overwhelming the site with traffic from a variety of other sources.
Usually it is large companies that suffer from DDoS attacks. Banks, news websites and other large entities suffer these issues. It can be a true challenge for their computer support teams to safeguard against, much less overcome.
On the black market it takes just $150 for attackers to purchase a DDoS attack. That means that for just that amount of money, a million-dollar business can be stopped in its tracks. What the attackers do is build networks of computers that are infected. These computer systems are referred to as botnets and their job is to spread malicious software to business computers by using social media, various websites and even emails.
Did you ever hear your employer tell you to never open an email from someone you don’t know? Or, if an email look suspicious to report it to computer support? This is why. Attackers can send faulty and damaging information any number of ways. Once your computer is infected, the attackers can remotely control your computer and the network it resides on.
The botnets are able to generate huge amounts of traffic that overwhelm a targeted business website. Sometimes they are scheduled to send random data using up the allotted bandwidth. Other times they are used to send connection requests to a server that are much more than it can manage. There are online markets that exist solely to sell their botnets and sell DDoS attacks.
The challenge for computer network support is to fight off these attacks. Sometimes this can take days, even weeks to clear up. The reason it is do difficult is because attackers come up with different methods of operation. They can use up all the connections available within a firewall or an application server by using millions of connections. They also can use fragmentation attacks that send a barrage of UDP fragments to the target. This also has the ability to overwhelm the system and reduces performance.
DDoS attacks are relatively common for big businesses. Smaller businesses also have felt the brunt of the attacks. The most important thing to do is to be ready for these types of attacks. Discuss your business and its structure with your computer support. Have a plan in place on how they will first recognize a critical situation and second, recover from it. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but if anything does happen, you’ll be as prepared as possible.