Web Security: what is a DDOS attack?
One of the most common questions that clients ask when they are looking to create a web presence are security related questions. What vulnerabilities will exist in a web system? How do we safeguard against potential attacks? What steps can we take to design a system that will be resilient in face of attack? There are several steps to take when looking to secure a website. First, it is important to understand what types of vulnerabilities exist. In this post, I will talk about one of the most common types of attacks used today.
What is a DDOS attack? DDOS stands for distributed denial of service. If you are suffering from a DDOS attack, malicious users are attempting to overwhelm your network. This is typically done with a large system of proxy computers, each sending requests to your IP address. If they can create a high enough volume of traffic, normal users will be unable to reach the site. Because your network is receiving such a massive surge, it will be unable to keep up. This can eventually cause a crash, and in the case of a poorly designed system, could actually lead to the discovery of other vulnerabilities in your system. DDOS attacks are only becoming more popular, and nearly every major online presence will suffer from them in one form or another. Massive companies such as Microsoft or BBC have been the victims of DDOS attacks, and they invest heavily in resources to combat and prevent additional attacks.
There are no steps that you can take to make yourself completely impervious to any attack, but there are some things that everyone with a financial stake in their web presence should do. First, employ a network security expert. Find someone with the expertise necessary to examine your system for flaws. No system is perfect, but an expert will be able to help you remove most common flaws, meaning that less sophisticated attacks will be easily fended off. Additionally, they will be able to create contingency plans for the worst-case scenarios: when hackers have been able to incapacitate your network. Proper network security means that you mitigate the potential damage done by an attack. Even if you are the victim of a sophisticated and dedicated attack, you can take steps to ensure that your data is secure, and that your customers will be able to access your website again as soon as possible.