DDoS attacks explained

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Airbnb, CNN, Netflix, PayPal, Spotify, Visa, Amazon, the New York Times, Reddit, and GitHub have all been the targets of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

A DDoS is a popular attack used by a hacker to divert the attention of its victim. As the victim tries to eliminate the dangers of the DDoS attack, the cybercriminal swoops in with its primary motivation, which could be anything from installing malicious software to stealing your organisation’s data.

This kind of attack can cost the victim a great deal of time and money to handle, so it is important that you and your employees are informed about the dangers of a DDoS attack.

Learn more about this kind of cyber attack in the guide below.


What is a DDoS attack?

In most cases, if a website has been brought down by hackers, the victim has been subjected to a DDoS attack.

Hackers will use a DDoS attack to shut down a machine or network.

DoS attacks can make it impossible for users to access their machines or networks as the attack floods the target with traffic or sends the system information that can trigger a crash.

A DoS attack will deprive legitimate users of access, which means employees, members, or account holders will be blocked from access.


What is the difference between a DoS and DDoS attack?

DoS stands for denial-of-service attack. This kind of attack floods a server with TCP and UDP packets.

A DDoS attack is a kind of DoS attack, where multiple systems target a single system with a DoS attack.


Examples of a DDoS attack

There are several symptoms of a DDoS attack. However, many of these are like other issues you may have with your device (i.e. a virus or a slow running Internet connection).

Issues that can be caused by a DDoS include:

  • Slow access to files
  • A long-term inability to access a website
  • Internet disconnection
  • Problems accessing all websites
  • An excessive volume of spam emails

If you are experiencing two or more of these issues, you might be a victim of a DDoS.


Rise of DDoS attacks

Why should your organisation be concerned about these attacks?

Security Brief has revealed that the number of DDoS attacks doubled in Q1 2020 as attackers are targeting remote workers during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Cyber security experts have suggested that hackers are taking advantage of the fact that remote employees are becoming more reliant on online resources than ever before and many organisations have allocated resources to remaining stable and accessible during the outbreak.

Security Brief has warned that:

“If cyber attackers can gain the trust of a victim by masquerading as a reputable source, such as the World Health Organisation or any given country’s Ministry of Health, then attacks are more likely to succeed.”


Protect your business

It is often the most common vulnerabilities that cyber hackers will exploit during this time. If your organisation is worried about being a target, it should be implementing Cyber Essentials key controls.

Officially backed by the UK Government, Cyber Essentials is a great solution for businesses looking to improve their cyber security settings and standing. By implementing five simple key controls, you can protect your business from up to 80% of common cyber security threats.

Find out more about our packages and get started with your Cyber Essentials certification.

Learn more