What is DoS?
A Denial of Service attack mainly involves bombarding an IP address with endless and massive amounts of malicious traffic. This renders the network provider and server unable to make contact with legitimate traffic (those coming from REAL users), making it unavailable to users hoping to access it. A certain type of DoS attack, called the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) involves multiple sources of malicious traffic, usually coming from around the world, making it hard to prevent since it comes from a number of IP addresses.
Who does it and which sites are susceptible?
Unfortunately, there is no clear cut way to determine who and why people resort to such methods. According to an article posted in CNet.com, three unidentified banks in the United States lost millions of dollars due to DDoS attacks masking fraudulent transfers. That said, this is being done by crime rings, but most of the time, hackers and pseudo-hackers. One notorious group known for DoS and defacement attacks against various government websites around the world is Anonymous, an activist - or "hacktivist" group. With these pieces of information, the most attacked and vulnerable websites include:
- Government websites
- Websites of banks and financial institutions
- Websites of large companies
- Small business websites, given that these possess minimum protection and can actually serve as a training ground for aspiring and newbie hackers.
How can I protect myself from these kinds of attacks?
Despite the severity of these types of attacks and the ease in which this attacks can be started, there are a few ways that you can employ to prevent, reduce and and mitigate the overall damage. These include:
Overprovision of Bandwidth
Remember, it is always a good idea to get more bandwidth than what you actually need. If you are personally monitoring your website and you somehow encounter unnatural and gradually increasing traffic spikes, then you are under a DoS attack.Â Though it could not exactly prevent your site from collapsing, it could buy you some time to get your bearings, gather your resources and get hold of a web security company.
This is usually not an option for small to medium sides businesses due to the cost.
Calling your Internet Service Providers or Hosting Providers
The best way to mitigate the damage as soon as the DoS attack starts is to immediately call your ISP or Hosting Provider (if you are hosting your own website). Doing so will not only protect your site, but also the other sites that they host as well. After which, they'll try to null the route which would drop the packets even before they arrive.
Firewalls which act quickly when DOS attacks occur.
With active security measures put in place, we're able to reduce your risks of attack at a time when the holiday season generates significant revenue for you.
DoS attacks are certainly one of the worst things that can happen to you. Although you might not experience it any time soon, it would certainly help you out to install preventive measures and consult different web security websites that could help out!