If you have ever visited a news website when there has been a breaking story, only to find that it loaded on your screen incredibly slow or perhaps didn’t even load at all, giving you an error message which you hadn’t seen since the early 2000’s, then you know just what happens when too many people try to visit a single website at the same time.
And while this doesn’t happen very often in modern times, there is a new type of online attack being used which works in a similar way and, if you and your IT department aren’t thorough with your security, the computers on your business network could be used for malicious purposes.
It’s called a Distributed Denial of Service attack, and they are becoming all too common. While you may not hear about them in the news, rest assured they are happening around the world, and it’s only a matter of time until you are affected.
Here’s How It Works in a Business Environment.
One of your employees receives an email, seemingly from one of your IT providers or a reputable site or service. The email will include either an attachment to download or a link to visit with the advice that it is a necessary update.
One of your employees clicks the link or installs the file, a small window pops up for a split second and then nothing happens. It’s never spoken of again and nobody thinks about it any further.
However, what actually happened what a backdoor was installed into your business network. Now, this isn’t for the purposes of stealing your business information. Instead, it is to use your computer as a zombie device.
The hacker who sent the email will accumulate a long list of compromised computers, much like the ones on your network. Once they reach the required amount, they can control these devices and command them to visit a certain website, all at once. Millions upon millions of site requests are going to a single website, causing it to slow to a crawl until it eventually becomes unresponsive.
While, in the first example, users would simply visit another site, a DDoS attack continues, leaving the company or service provider to attempt to recover the site whilst still being under attack.
As you can imagine, this can cost a business serious financial concerns and reputation and marketing issues, potentially leading to its closure.
How Can You Prevent Your Computers From Being Used in Such a Way?
Educating your staff is the best place to start. Remind them that visiting sites like the Groupon Coupons page for Aerie to get discounts on apparel is perfectly fine, clicking a strange link from an email or installing something you aren’t entirely sure of isn’t something which you should practice.
In addition to this, be sure that your computers and your network infrastructure are always patched with the latest updates and all of the available security options have been thoroughly investigated and considered.