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What is a DDoS attack & how can it impact on your business?

It goes without saying but many things have changed for businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many businesses, they have adapted to become more flexible but whilst increasing this flexibility it has also increased the level of security risks too. Strangely if you hadn’t guessed, ISPs have been dealing with greater levels of traffic over the last two years or so which has provided the perfect environment for both cybercriminals and hackers.  This has led to them targeting service providers, businesses as well as governments. With DDoS attacks rapidly increasing, it is vital that you understand what they are and how you can safeguard your business against these threats into the future. 

So, what is a DDoS attack? 

Essentially, a DDoS attack is a denial-of-service attack that looks to disrupt internet traffic in a certain location. What this means is that these targeted cyber-attacks stop users being able to access a website or company whilst at the same time opening that specific target up to data breaches and much more. The vast majority of hackers use this type of attack to gain access to the target in order to steal potentially sensitive information. In certain scenarios, this can be in the form of passwords and customer data whilst in other cases it can be personal information about that specific person. 

So, what makes this year different from the rest? 

Over the course of the last year, DDoS attacks have accelerated by over 500% when compared against previous years. The increases experienced in malicious attacks coincides with an increase in consumers relying on online services and businesses relying on telecommunicating. This surge in ISP usage was so dramatic that it almost completely overwhelmed providers so much so that their security measures couldn’t cope anymore.  As a result, both short attacks and other peculiar patterns were observed which made it much easier for widespread disruption as well as major data breaches to occur. 

So, how can DDoS attacks impact on your business? 

Businesses have always been targeted by cyber criminals but with the increased numbers of people working from home, DDoS attacks and brute force attacks have spiraled out of control. The vast majority of businesses take the necessary precautions to keep things safe but at the same time simply overlook the need to provide similar security measures to employees who are accessing the network from home. Furthermore, if your business is exposed to an attack, not only is potentially sensitive information at risk but also the site visitor and customer information is also exposed.  Even if a DDoS attack is foiled and isn’t able to steal critical business data, these attacks do cause major disruption by stopping site visitors, employees as well as customers from getting onto your website for a set period of time. As a consequence, you can experience a major loss in reputation, contracts as well as other things. 

How can you prevent DDoS attacks? 

In order to stop DDoS attacks from happening, you need to use proper patch management as well as secure RDP protocols if you are looking to not only secure your business but to also enable your employees to work from home. It is important to make sure that only a limited amount of users can access the corporate servers at once. Having strong password policies with three or four step authentication or having a password management solution from Advantage are pivotal. However, it is important to note that there aren’t any perfect solutions but exercising diligence, disabling external connections via TCP & UDP ports as well as maintaining strict patch management are all effective ways to stop the vast majority of DDoS attacks from succeeding. 

Next Steps? 

If you are a business that is looking to protect yourself from DDoS attacks by having the necessary Cyber Security solutions in place or are looking to have additional training around cyber awareness then please get in touch with our IT team today to discuss how we can help you to safeguard your business both at home and in the office. 

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