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DDoS: The Threats That Won’t Go Away

Corporations and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers often underestimate the potential fallout caused by Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which is when a malicious hacker artificially inflates traffic to a website or digital asset to render it unavailable for a certain period of time. The outage usually lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. These kinds of attacks don’t target sensitive information, but they can damage a company’s reputation and internal operations.

Learn why DDoS attacks are so dangerous and why they’re becoming more frequent.

The Trouble with DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks may not pose as much of an immediate threat as ransomware and other forms of malware, but it remains highly dangerous, nonetheless. More companies are using digital assets and SaaS platforms than ever before.

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Various software programs are now critical to a company’s IT infrastructure. The rise of remote work increases their reliance on these assets as employees at all levels access sensitive information from home.

A DDoS attack could inhibit the company’s employees from accessing the system during normal working hours, leading to a massive loss in productivity. The longer the outage, the more dangerous the attack becomes. Companies may assume they can remediate vulnerabilities in a matter of minutes, but even minor interruptions can lead to costly delays and scheduling issues. Studies show that DDoS attacks lasting one hour can cost up to $300,000 per hour. That comes out to $5,600 per minute of downtime.

These attacks can also affect a company’s reputation. Workers need to be able to access internal data 24/7 in today’s fast-paced world. A company may lose customers or businesses if its clients start to suspect that the network isn’t secure.

Worse yet, when a hacker goes through the effort of attacking the system, it shows that they see the network as vulnerable. They will likely continue waging DDoS attacks or find another way to compromise the system, especially if the company fails to patch the network.

New Trends in DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks are becoming more frequent and dangerous at the same time. The industry behind these attacks is booming, as it gets easier to create a DDoS attack. Hackers can easily buy and sell kits that make it possible for just about anyone to generate an attack regardless of their technical background.

Hackers famously targeted Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post journalist who has written extensively about the rise of the cybercrime industry. He garnered death threats from hackers of all kinds. Even his award-winning blog, Kreps On Security, fell victim to a DDoS attack in 2016.

Consumers and corporations are using more smart devices than ever before, which has paved the way for the Internet of Things (IoT). However, these devices remain particularly vulnerable to DDoS attacks. IoT devices rarely have the same security protocols as mobile communication devices like computers and cell phones, which give hackers an entry point. Disabling these devices can interrupt a company’s internal operations. These devices can even be used to mine cryptocurrency.

Cybercriminals have also started targeting DNS systems, which effectively serve as the backbone of the internet. They resolve readable domain names into IP addresses, which helps every internet user get where they need to go. When hackers target a domain name resolver, it can have cascading effects. All websites managed by the DNS will be unavailable until the attack has been resolved.

Not all DDoS attacks are the same. Many companies fail to identify the nuances behind these attacks. While most attacks use volume-based metrics to overwhelm the web server, other protocol-based DDoS attacks exploit the flaws in common protocols used by the internet to artificially flood the system with traffic.

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that no one is immune to DDoS attacks. Hackers are starting to target companies and platforms at the top of the internet food chain to create a domino effect as the many websites that depend on them go dark.

DDoS attacks aren’t going away anytime soon. Learn more about the latest trends in managing cyber exposure to keep your assets online as long as possible.

Download the full report today to explore the methodologies of DDoS attacks and their consequences, as well as the mitigation strategies that institutions and enterprises can adopt to defend against them.

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