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DDoS Attacks: The Latest Threat to Your Business

on Jul 11

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Imagine you own a shop and you have the usual customer traffic coming through your doors. Suddenly 600 people show up and try to cram through your doorway at the same time. The service to your shop is suddenly disrupted, and customers and employees are stuck and can’t get to where they need to go.

While this sounds like a worst nightmare, it's now the digital reality for businesses worldwide. Over 2000 businesses are targeted daily by DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, and the numbers grow every year even in Hawaii. These types of cyber attacks are challenging to understand and protect against, so we’ve developed a quick guide to discuss this new trend and how to address it.

What is DDoS?

Known as Distributed Denial of Service, this type of attack is an attempt from an outside group to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with an enormous flood of online traffic. They are always deliberate attacks from cyber hackers with one primary goal - preventing access to your site. The website becomes very slow to respond to requests or halted entirely, making it impossible for actual users to get to your site. Websites are lifelines for businesses and any disruption can have devastating consequences.

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These types of attacks can range from one to hundreds of thousands of computers. The most common way these attacks are carried out are through botnets, networks of internet-connected devices or “bots”. These devices have malware on them that allows cyber attackers to control them. When attackers want to target an IP address, they command their controlled devices to send as many data packets as possible, overwhelming the system and causing it to go out of service.

How to Prevent a DDoS Attack

Regardless of size and industry, every business is susceptible to this type of cyber attack and need to take preventive measures.  

1.  Activate a Firewall

Installing a website application firewall (WAF) prevents malicious traffic from coming to your website. This provides an extra barricade of protection between the traffic and your website. WAFs intercept and examine all HTTP requests and bogus traffic is blocked to prevent malicious bots or programs from coming to the system.

2.  Monitor Website Traffic

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It’s very important to be aware of your usual website traffic numbers, and monitor any random spikes of users accessing your site. These dramatic increases are a major red flag for ongoing DDOS attacks, so we highly recommend using checking your user logs and implementing monitoring tools that quickly detect them will prevent damage to your business.

3.  Increase Bandwidth

Businesses can prepare for possible attacks by expanding their bandwidth. Buying more bandwidth makes your servers more resistant to withstand possible attacks from cyber hackers. More bandwidth means more difficulty for hackers overloading your network.

4.  Develop Redundant Infrastructure

Create a resilient infrastructure that is protected from all types of cyber attacks. Instead of having all your servers in one area and one network, make sure they are distributed in different areas such as multiple data centers or cloud servers. Make sure every location is connected to a different network with no bottlenecks or single points of failure. Implement hardware that can handle these types of attacks and protects the network. 

5.  Prepare with a DDoS Action Plan

Even if your business never experiences a DDoS attack, plan for the worst and create an action with steps that prevents attackers from blocking your network. These action plans should include internal alerts when web traffic suddenly increases beyond normal levels and designate how your team handles the attack, especially if it lasts more than a few days.

6.  Educate Your Team

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Knowledge is even more valuable than buying the right hardware for DDoS attacks. Educate your employees through training sessions about how to respond to these types of attacks and mitigate them. Protect them by having them follow security best practices to secure their company and personal devices. If possible, practice regular security tests on your business networks to test your action and see how your employees react to these scenarios.

Conclusion

DDoS attacks are now a massive problem with more businesses targeted daily, including Hawaii. This new trend in cyber attacks affects everyone regardless of size, but service providers developed new security technologies providing advanced network protection. A new solution for any business is to move their data and security to a cloud service provider such as Servpac. 

Servpac’s state-of-the-art cloud service offers Hawaii businesses advanced firewall, more bandwidth, and constant monitoring 24x7 by local engineers for easy detection of incoming cyber attacks. For more info, please call 808-237-5000 or request a free consultation with a local expert.

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Servpac is a Hawaii-based telecommunications company providing innovative and integrated telephone, internet, and cloud solutions for Hawaii businesses since 2004. The company is the largest locally based CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) in the state and provides 24/7 local support for island businesses to help them compete in the global marketplace. 

Topics: Business, technology, trends, cloud

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