Many analysts believe that 2016 was the year that DDoS attacks became mainstream. In past years, DDoS attacks were somewhat uncommon. Only large organizations had to worry about DDoS attacks and even then, these types of cyber attacks were rare.
A report by Neustar claims that DDoS attacks are becoming a more prevalent attack vector for cyber criminals. In fact, Neustar mentions that multivector DDoS attacks have risen by more than 300% over the past year.
Businesses that require uptime and availability must create a mitigation plan for DDoS attacks. If DDoS defenses are already in place, it’s possible that an attacker may pass over your website and look for an easier target.
Why Is There a Sudden Increase in DDoS Attacks?
One of the fastest growing technology sectors is the Internet of Things (IoT). These internet connected devices are often installed without changing the root password.
Some administrators may not realize that these devices have hidden usernames, default passwords or security vulnerabilities that will provide a hacker with remote access to the device.
For example, cloud connected security cameras are an easy target for hackers because these devices are usually directly connected to the internet with minimal security safeguards in place.
Hackers can use tools like Shodan.io to find vulnerabilities or they can simply begin scanning IP ranges looking for open ports and vulnerable IoT devices.
IoT: An Unintended Platform for DDoS Attacks
Because of the sudden availability insecure devices that have popped up on the internet, hackers have created botnet applications to remotely control these devices.
These botnet applications use the network diagnostic tools to begin sending junk TCP, UDP and ICMP packets to a specific server. When hackers are able to orchestrate these attacks in mass, the junk data can bring effectively overload the network connection to your server prohibiting legitimate traffic from reaching your servers.
While a DDoS attack does not harm the data residing on the server itself, a DDoS cyber attack can effectively make your servers unavailable to the outside world. If your servers are unable to access the internet, a DDoS attack can greatly impact the way that you deliver IT services to your end users.
Large Scale DDoS Attacks Cripple Access to Twitter, Shopify and Others
In late 2016, some of the most notable websites were impacted by a large scale DDoS attack. TheHackerNews reports that Dyn, one of the world’s largest DNS providers, was brought to its knees during a DDoS attack.
Some experts say that the DDoS attack could have exceeded 1Tbps making it one of the largest known DDoS attacks on record.
The DDoS attack impacted Dyn’s ability to respond to DNS requests, therefore making popular apps and websites unavailable for internet users. TheHackerNews says that these services could have been impacted by the DDoS attack against Dyn:
DDoS Protection Becoming a Necessity
For simple websites on shared hosting plans, webmasters will commonly use CloudFlare’s free DDoS protection.
If you are hosting dedicated servers in a colocation data center, CloudFlare is an option, but is it the best option?
Most colocated data centers will give you the ability to protect your servers from DDoS attacks. For example, when you buy dedicated servers or colocation services at ColoCrossing, you can purchase DDoS protection for each server or public IP address in your network.
The scariest part of a DDoS attack is that a remote operator can harness the power of insecure, unsophisticated devices to do the attacker’s bidding. Neustar says that DDoS attacks are here to stay; Cyber security experts suggests that all businesses should have some sort of DDoS defense in place in order to discourage these types of cyber attacks.
Since malicious actors can launch DDoS attacks at will, hackers and scammers have begun using DDoS attacks as a way to carry out a ransom. If you agree to pay the ransom, the hacker stops the DDoS attack. If you don’t pay, the attacker continues to prevent legitimate traffic from reaching your services.
Because of the emerging profit motive associated with DDoS attacks, businesses must remain vigilant in preventing DDoS cyber attacks by purchasing DDoS protection services. When you host your next workload at ColoCrossing, ask your friendly sales associate about DDoS protection for your servers.