We recently reported that HSBC had been hit by a DDoS attack. So what does that mean?

Every week there is news of a new virus or cyber attack and how you should protect your business from it. Knowledge it key to prevention so we look at a DDoS attack.

Many cyber attacks and viruses involve stealing private information or simply dialling a certain feature on your website, which is bad enough for business. However a DDoS attack has the power to knock whole sites offline and are usually carried out by automated bots or programmes.

How do they work?

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks work by overloading websites or other online services with traffic. Whilst there is no money or private information to be gained from this kind of attack, they can disable an entire website for a prolonged period of time, meaning that you lose serious money if you rely on your website for business.

Victims of such attacks in the past month include the Irish National Lottery and the BBC while in 2014 the popular videogame Wurm was also hit.

How big is a DDoS attack?

A newly published report from the company Arbor Networks suggests attacks are getting bigger and more sophisticated – with more and more businesses suffering.

More than 200 of the reported attacks in 2015 summoned 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) of traffic, with the largest of these clocking in at 500 Gbps – enough to disrupt an entire internet service provider’s network.

To put that in context, in 2014 internet connectivity for the entire country of Kenya was about 500 Gbps.

What can i do to protect my business from a DDoS attack?

Well, there is software and strategies you can install and implement to try and stop your website being vulnerable to this kind of attack. However, with so much at stake, we think it’s definitely best that you leave this to the IT support professionals. Talk to them about how you can put measure in place to tighten your security online and prevent huge attacks.

With DDoS attics on the rise, like all other kind sod cybercrime, it is likely that more concrete and sophisticated DDoS protection software will be developed in the coming months/years.