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DDOS: Distributed Denial of Service

News > DDOS: Distributed Denial of Service

DDOS: Distributed Denial of Service


If you've never even heard of a DDoS attack, consider yourself lucky. The acronym stands for Distributed Denial of Service, and its use against businesses is on the rise.

"A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources," explains Digital Attack Map, a DDoS-related service from Google Ideas and Arbor Networks. "They target a wide variety of important resources, from banks to news websites, and present a major challenge to making sure people can publish and access important information."

There are different types of DDoS attacks, and they can vary widely in sophistication, intensity and duration; the link above and this short video elaborate. They are disruptive, not intrusive - a DDoS attack can take your web site offline, but it can't be used to access your network (though it could serve as a distraction). The important thing for business owners to understand is that occurrences are skyrocketing, and as the Latest News page of shows, no one is immune.

In 2013, 60 percent of the companies - from a range of industries - surveyed by Neustar reported that they'd experienced a DDoS attack; that was up from 35 percent the year before. Of those attacked in 2013, the overwhelming majority were hit more than once. More than one-third reported two to five attacks that year, and almost one-fifth responded, "We lost count."

The trend exploded in 2014, and has continued into this year. Cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs cites two main reasons: the ever-growing number of wired devices, like gaming consoles, that attackers can bend to their will, and the rise of shady "DDoS-for-hire services" (some of which also offer defensive services, peddling both disease and cure).

"To my mind," Krebs writes, "this a massive problem deserving of an international and coordinated response. We currently have global vaccination efforts to eradicate infectious and communicable but treatable diseases. Unfortunately, we probably need a similar type of response to deal with the global problem of devices that can be conscripted at a moment's notice to join a virtual flash mob capable of launching attacks that can knock almost any target offline for hours or days on end."

Our partner Fortinet offers a range of products to protect against DDoS attacks, and a free, 46-minute webinar.

If you'd like to learn more about protecting yourself against DDoS attacks, contact us.