These days, it seems you can’t venture anywhere on the web without threats lurking around every corner. And each day, you hear about a new data breach, virus, or some other threat to your security and data online.
When will the madness end? Well, probably never. As long as people are sharing sensitive information on the Internet (such as Social Security numbers and payment data), hackers will try to take advantage.
Still, there’s one type of online threat that many people have never heard of, but that’s been gaining traction over the last several years. It’s the DDoS attack—and anybody with a server, website, or even an email address could be at risk.
What is a DDoS Attack?
Specifically, DDoS stands for "distributed denial of service." In simplest terms, a DDoS attack aims to slow down a server or crash it altogether by essentially flooding it with fake web traffic. These types of attacks can wreak serious havoc, especially on websites that rely on steady uptime to generate revenue through direct eCommerce sales or even ads. In fact, one study has found that major server outages for the top five eCommerce sites in the United States total about $3.5 million per hour.
Unfortunately, DDoS attacks have grown not only in their frequency, but their size as well. Attacks of several hundred gigabytes per second are no longer uncommon, rendering some "DDoS protection" software unable to keep up. Meanwhile, it seems that nobody is safe from the threat of a DDoS attack; from major corporations to small non-profits and everything in between, attackers will target any and all vulnerabilities.
How to Protect Yourself
With all this in mind, what can you do to be proactive against DDoS attacks? While there’s no way to guarantee you’ll never fall victim to an attack on your site or server, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Start by making sure you’re using a server or hosting platform with build-in safeguards against these kinds of attacks. Many hosting companies offer DDoS protection as part of their hosting packages. If you can upgrade your protection to guard against even larger attacks, do so.
Meanwhile, be aware of the signs of a DDoS attack. Most often, victims of DDoS attacks will notice problems accessing their website. The site may be slow to load or it may fail to load altogether. In other cases, you may still be able to access your own site, but you may receive reports from others that they cannot or that the site is loading very slowly. If this occurs, you’ll want to contact your hosting company as soon as possible so they can look into it further.
Don’t Become a Victim
Hopefully, you never have to worry about a DDoS attack causing downtime on your server or website. Unfortunately, these attacks are becoming a very real threat across the web. By being aware of what DDoS attacks entail, you can better protect yourself!