Today, we’ll be talking about the scariest acronym of them all: DDoS. So, what is a DDoS attack? DDoS (or Distributed Denial of Service) basically means that a bunch of computers team up to take down a website or a server. Kind of like a cyber-bullying gang.
I can hear you wondering "But why would anyone want to do that?" Honestly, we don’t have a good answer for you. Maybe they're bored, or maybe they just really hate that website. Either way, it's not cool.
How Does a DDoS Attack Work?
Imagine you're a server that hosts a website. You're just minding your own business, serving up some sweet web pages, when suddenly, you get bombarded with thousands of requests from different computers. At first you are thinking, yesssss look at all this traffic... But then you realize a more nefarious thing is at work... Oh no!
Now, your poor little server is overwhelmed, and it can't handle all of these requests at once. It starts to slow down, and eventually, it just gives up and crashes. And that, my friends, is a successful DDoS attack.
But, who's behind these attacks? Well, it could be anyone. It could be a group of hacktivists with a shady agenda. It could be a lone wolf with a bone to pick. It could even be your grandma trying to take down her arch-nemesis's knitting blog. You never know.
Whether it’s WikiLeaks or your sweet Nana, a DDoS attack can be a serious risk to a site. It can disrupt businesses, cause financial losses, and even put people's lives at risk if the attacked website or server is critical to public safety.
How to Protect Against DDoS Attacks
But don't worry, you’ve got options to help prevent these attacks. For starters, you should have a foolproof plan in case a DDoS attack does happen. These are your badass first responders on the ready to act in case you fall victim to a DDoS attack. You should also always have a backup server for disaster relief in case your main server goes down. (Most people do not have a backup server, just fyi.)
Next, you should invest in DDoS protection services. These are like the armor that protects your server from DDoS attacks before they even get there. Unfortunately, these services don’t come with a suit of armor - you’ll have to go to the Renaissance fair for that. But they can save you a lot of trouble if you do end up on the business end of a DDoS attack.
You can also use firewalls and load balancers to throw a wrench in the plans of your attackers. Firewalls can help block traffic from suspicious IP addresses, while load balancers can distribute traffic evenly across multiple servers to prevent any one server from getting overloaded.
Finally, make sure you're always checking that your software and security measures up to date. Make sure you’re installing patches and updates as soon as they become available, and regularly testing your security measures to ensure they're working. We utilize Cloudflare for our client sites when we see any large spikes in DDoS attempts, which is also included in our maintenance plans.
Why Are DDoS Attacks Important to Your Small Business?
For small business owners, DDoS attacks can be devastating. A successful DDoS attack can cause your website or systems to crash which in turn can lead to potentially costly downtime, lost revenue, and wary customers. Additionally, if a business’s website contains personal information from customers – such as addresses or payment details – there's always the chance that hackers could gain access if security measures aren't put in place beforehand. But with the right deterrents, you can save your website, your customers' trust, and, importantly, your sanity.
DDoS attacks are no laughing matter. They're like the bullies of the internet, and nobody likes a bully. So, if you have a website or a server, it’s important to protect it so that your business's and customers' information stay safe.
What is a DDoS Attack? Summary
- DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service and involves a group of computers overwhelming a server or website with requests.
- DDoS attacks can cause serious disruptions and financial losses.
- Prevention against DDoS attacks includes having a plan in place, investing in DDoS protection services, using firewalls and load balancers, and keeping security measures up to date.