DDoS attack, which is basically short for distributed denial-of-service attack, is something a lot of people are aware of but don’t truly understand. Often it is placed in the same basket as any malicious attempt aiming at a website, but the technology and the goal of the two are quite different.
What is a DDoS attack?
In very simple terms, a DDoS attack is a “stream” of calls to your website/server that floods the capacity of said server, thus disabling it from working properly. DoS attacks generate those calls from a single source, whereas DDoS orchestrates from multiple sources thus making it more difficult to stop. The ways attackers go about it can vary significantly, but what is definitely observable is that the magnitude of these attacks is growing each year.
What needs to be said is that DDoS attacks as methodology and goals do not aim to breach the website. The attackers are not here to plant anything malicious on your server or website nor are they here to steal data. The primary goal of such attacks is to overflow the server capacity and make it inaccessible. In some scenarios, there were ransoms requested to stop the attack, in others the attack was a “simple” demonstration of power.
How does DDoS attack differ from website hacking?
The first thing to notice is that if you are under DDoS attack – you will know straight away. DDoS attacks aim at destabilizing your website whereas if your website is being hacked in most cases you will not be aware of it. Hackers that plant malicious content or code on your website do it without being noticed and in most cases, there will be months before you realise something is wrong.
Also, hackers planting malicious code search for security vulnerabilities through which they can slide into your website or server. DDoS attackers use in most cases “simply” need to generate enough computing power to hit you with the attack. The computing power needs to be bigger than your server’s capacity.
How to prevent DDoS attacks?
Today there are anti-DDoS hardware and software solutions, systematic solutions to configure your infrastructure and scale up your bandwidth. All of these solutions though can be quite complex and usually are out of reach from small and medium companies.
What we recommend is getting a solution like Cloudflare that can free of charge actually minimise the effects of a potential attack of that sort and in that way bring at least some peace of mind.
To have in mind!
As DDoS attacks and malware infections are not caused by the same type of attack, prevention of those is not the same. To best secure your website one should cover three elements:
1/ antimalware software or firewall to prevent hacks
2/ anti-DDoS solutions like Cloudflare
3/ SSL encryption on the website to ensure secure transfer of data between your visitors and your server.
Our standard packages account for these three elements at no extra cost and thus provide a one-stop solution for security-related topics.
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