Cyber attacks have been on everyone’s minds as of late, from the everyday user to President Obama. Here is everything you need to know about DDoS attacks to help you prepare for the worst.
Downtime: it happens. Hopefully the cause is a rare, non-threatening power outage rather than hardware failure or a cyber attack. In the world of shared hosting nothing is worse than an entire server being shut down because of an attack on one account, but unfortunately it is something that we see quite often.
Our expert techs do the best they can to tune into their psychic powers to predict which server could be vulnerable, but we know it is still a science that we haven’t quite mastered. However, when a Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attack does occur we know exactly how to handle it. Midphase believes that the more our clients know about threats that could impact their hosting, the better that we can work together to provide a safe hosting environment.
What is DDoS?
A Distributed Denial of Service, known as DDoS, is when a malicious hacker uses a fleet of remotely-controlled computers to send a flood of requests to the targeted network. The hacker generally uses a trojan to infect computers, and then in turn uses them remotely to send as many requests as possible, a request is when one computer asks another computer for data across a network. This results in the network becoming overloaded with requests to the point where it will stop responding to legitimate requests.
The infected computer is called a zombie because it will perform whatever action is commanded of them by the DDoS controller. Many zombie computers in a group are referred to as botnets. Your computer could be a part of a botnet without your knowledge. The only noticeable signs would be that your computer isn’t as fast as it used to be or because your ISP (internet service provider) drops your service because you are using too much bandwidth with the unusually high number of requests.
How to protect yourself from DDoS attacks:
Complete prevention is impossible, but you can take certain steps to lower the chances of DDoS attacks as much as possible, as well as implement procedures to effectively handle the attack.
Many of the preventative measures are for the hosting company to maintain. Midphase uses load balancing and TCP/IP protocol stacks to attempt to control the flow of requests and stop illegitimate requests before they get to our network.
Here are a few steps that you can take to minimize the impact and raise awareness to the threat of a DDoS attack:
- All website are vulnerable to DDoS attacks.
This is not meant to scare you, rather to prepare you in the event of an attack. DDoS attacks happen every day because they are inexpensive to execute and tough to stop.
- Make a plan.
Consider having a professional service partner with you to fend off attackers. We generally recommend CloudFlare to our clients for the best protection. Any precautions you take now can drastically lower the chances of attack later on.
- Know your network.
Understanding the patterns of your network will alert you when something seems amiss. Early detection is key to preventing a full-scale attack.
- Know who to call.
Alerting your hosting provider and internet service provider, as well as any other secondary services you might employ, can shorten clean-up time.
- Wait it out.
Sometimes in the event of a DDoS attack all you can really do is wait for it to stop. Painful we know, but once an attack has started there really isn’t a lot you can do. Take comfort in that it happens to businesses big and small; even governments have been attacked!
For more information on DDoS attacks and how to manage them visit our knowledgebase at: www.midphase.com/support/
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