Distributed denial of service attacks - DDoS for short - are a threat to every business with an online presence. Between 2014 and 2017 the number of these attacks increased by 2 1/2 times and they have continued to increase since then. An average attack can cost between $20,000 and $40,000.
Unlike hackers who invade a computer system, a DDos attack works from the outside. Attackers use compromised computer systems or other resources such as IoT devices. These systems are called bots; a group of them is a botnet. The bots send a flood of requests to the target's IP address, causing the cyber equivalent of a traffic jam. In the worst case, your site would shut down.
Trying to differentiate between a spike in traffic and a DDoS attack may be difficult. Characteristics of an attack are
- A single IP source.
- Users with the same behavioral profile.
- Requests directed at a single endpoint or page.
- Spikes at unnatural intervals.
If your company allows employees to bring their own devices to work, be aware they can be DDoS targets and infect your system.
Preparation for an attack includes regular system updates and strong, frequently changed passwords. Consult security specialists to be sure your system is prepared.