DDoS Attacks & What You Can Do to Prevent Them

The recent surge of distributed denial of service (DDoS) cyber attacks on corporate websites makes it appear like there’s a new cyber attack every day and that there is nothing that can be done to prevent them. However, the truth is that these “cyber attacks” are not as unavoidable as most people think, and can easily be prevented with the right know-how.

The way DDoS attacks work is that a hacker or a group of hackers use botnet-infected computers or zombie computers to send traffic to a website and take up all of its bandwidth, causing the server to fail. One approach to fight off and prevent this attack would be to upgrade to a host with much more bandwidth or build their own data centers, however, for small, medium, and even some large-sized businesses, this isn’t the best use of their resources and would most likely be a waste of money.

All is not lost, however, because companies have a defense: creating a data center partnership or cooperative. The way this works is that many different companies from a certain region or industry team up and combine their hosting resources. And in the case that they do experience a DDoS attack, the servers would be able to handle the incoming traffic; and if it’s spammy traffic, the data center could reroute it into a black hole where it won’t affect the rest of the servers.

Aside from joining forces with others, companies also have the option of hiring an outside firm to make sure they are protected from DDos attacks. These companies offer additional bandwidth to protect websites from this spike of false traffic, and will make sure that the website is up and running even while being directly attacked by the botnet-infected zombie computers. Some of of the most well-known of these DDoS insurance companies are Server Origin and Damballa; and for businesses that can’t afford to partner up or create their own data centers they might be the best option.

The next time you hear about a large company or corporation’s website going down because of a DDoS attack, don’t get stricken with fear thinking that there’s nothing that can’t stop those hackers, and instead think of it as more of a preventable exploit.

(Via NY Times) / (Image by trekkyandy licensed under Creative Commons)

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