Hackers from all over the world have been taking advantage of computers, websites, and other internet-connected devices for years. Their attacks have become more sophisticated and have been dealing more damage than ever before. The most recent attack on October 21, 2016, was proof that our defenses are not strong enough to thwart these attacks.
Thousands of websites were affected by this attack including Twitter, Etsy, Github, Vox, Spotify, Airbnb, Netflix, Amazon, and others. Hackers used a DDoS style attack to cause an overload of internet traffic that overloaded servers. A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is complicated but in a nutshell, means hackers have taken control of many computers and internet-connected devices all over the world. The hackers then use those devices to send hundreds of “requests” to a server or website causing servers to slow down and even crash because of the increased traffic.
Think about 4 lane highway that accommodates 30,000 vehicles per day with no problems. Now triple the number of vehicles on that same 4-lane highway and gridlock is a sure thing. Add in a fender bender that closes one of those lanes and that describes a DDoS attack on a website or server.
While this type of attack was targeting huge servers and Fortune 500 company websites, it affected websites of all sizes. Many homes and businesses reported very slow internet connections during the attack and websites of all sizes slowed to a crawl resulting in lost revenue.
The FBI, Homeland Security, and other government agencies are investigating this attack and who is behind it, but have not identified who is responsible yet. While this attack did not cause much true “damage” officials fear this attack may be the first of many more to come with future attacks being more widespread and damaging.
Hackers are always looking for smaller websites to take control of since they typically do not have high-end security measures in place.
We will continue to monitor this story and bring you updates. Give us a call today at 910-452-6345 for a no-obligation security review of your website. When Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” he wasn’t talking about website security, but his words still ring true today!