I was launching a client’s website recently, and the topic of security came up. “Who’s going to hack my site?” he asked “It’s very small.” Our idea of malicious hackers destroying websites feels specifically targeted, but it’s not always. In the case of a small client like this one, if his website was hacked, he would probably be a causality of a bigger attack. The target might be a bigger website that’s hosted on the same server. The server gets overloaded and then other sites feel the attack’s effects. These attacks are called DDoS Attacks and as a website owner, you have choices on how to protect yourself. Unfortunately, these attacks are becoming more common, and having protection is essential.
Nextfly offers a variety of security options for your website. Webhosting, SSL certificates, and unlimited backups are all things you might want to consider to keep your site healthy. Other large hosting companies can offer you the same services for cheaper, but their response time and individual attention are often lacking. If your site goes down, which would you rather do: Talk to a local person who can address your issues, or wait on hold in a call center for who knows how long? Contact Nextfly today to learn more.
What is a DDos Attack?
DDos stands for Distributed Denial of Services. A DDos Attack is when a hacker attempts to overload and disrupt a network service or connectivity that causes a denial of service for users attempting to use that service. A hacker will use an army of malware-infected computers (or anything connected to the internet in the Internet of things such as printers and webcams) to create an army of bots, or botnet, that they use to target a single system. There are many different ways a hacker, or botmaster can do this. They could use the bots to target a specific website’s IP address, overloading the website with requests. Sometimes, botmasters consume all available bandwidth between the target and the internet, causing slowdowns and crashes.
When this happens, anyone else visiting your site at the time might experience slow load times or won’t be able to access your site at all. This can lead to frustration and loss of sales or engagement. If it’s particularly frustrating, these users, unaware of the attack, might not visit your site again. Having the proper web protections in place will keep your customers happy, and hopefully no interruption of service in the future.
Who Do DDos Attacks Commonly Target?
Back to our customer with the small website. His portfolio site probably isn’t the target of a DDos Attack, but he could still be a causality. Common targets for DDos Attacks are usually internet shopping sites, online casinos, and business that provides online services which could include government agencies. But if your website is being hosted through a large company, your little portfolio site might be on the same server as one of these larger websites that’s being attacked. When the server is overloaded from that attack, it could cause problems for you too.
How Can I Protect My Website from a DDos Attack?
Knowing the signs of a DDos Attack can be especially helpful in protecting yourself. You can notice the common signs of an attack by monitoring your site’s performance regularly. If you notice odd activity, communicate your issues to your web host so they can investigate. One sign of suspicious activity is large amounts of traffic from one IP address or a small IP address range. This could be a sign of an attack. One profile bringing in a flood of traffic suddenly could be another sign. Especially if it occurs during non-peak hours. If your site suddenly has no traffic, your site might already be hacked, preventing new users from visiting.
If you’re looking to buy hosting through Nextfly, or any other hosting site ask them how they are prepared in the event of an attack. Make sure they have a strong security system in place and firewalls to block hackers before they get close. Making sure you’re up to date with all security options available is essential. Without a security system in place, your website may have a target on it. You can also outsource to cloud-based service providers. These are commonly operated by software engineers whose job consists of monitoring the web for DDos Attacks.
A Lot of Big Sites Went Down Recently. Was that a DDos Attack?
On June 8th 2021, many big websites like Amazon, Reddit, and Pinterest went down. Was that a DDos Attack? Fastly, a cloud-based server that all these websites use, said that a bug caused this issue. A user pushed a valid configuration change that triggered a bug and caused many sites to stop working. According to Fastly, no this was not a DDos Attack, but I think it is a good example of a domino effect. How one little incident can overload a server so easily and cause major problems for other websites.
Imagine if hackers had known about that bug before someone accidentally triggered it. We might have had even worse outages. Remember when people in the southeastern US were stocking up on gas because a nearby gas pipeline had been hacked? The cause of this was hackers bypassing the company’s cybersecurity system. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security is now requiring more robust regulations for cybersecurity for other pipeline companies. Although your website might not be as vital to the economy as a gasoline pipeline, this example shows the consequences of poor security. Your entire operation could be held hostage by hackers. And these hacks are becoming more and more common, so it’s essential to protect your site.
Call Nextfly to Beef Up Your Website’s Security
Our Webhosting offers some cloud-based web security that other hosts might not. Our local team can act quickly when your site goes down. You might also want to consider adding SSL, extended warranty, and other security offerings to help you prevent future DDoS Attacks. Contact Nextfly today to see if you’re protected enough. We can help keep your site running so you won’t lose potential customers.