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The Rise of the DDoS

Posted on 10/26/2016 10:29:00 AM by Dr. Eugene Slobodzian
Category: Security & Compliance

The Rise of the DDoS

On Friday, hackers attacked key internet sites and disrupted the availability of popular websites across the East Coast of the United States. This is one of the latest disturbing trends in cyber security, and "in Q2 2016, [DDoS] attacks continued to become more frequent, persistent, and complex.", according to Verisign.

Dyn Inc. a Manchester, New Hampshire based company said that its server infrastructure was hit by distributed denial-of-service attacks. Let me back up a second and explain these types of attacks.

  1. Denial-of-Service Attack – A denial-of-service (DoS) is an attack on one network that is designed to bring the network down by flooding it with useless traffic. A DoS attack typically uses one computer and one Internet connection to target a system or resource.
  2. Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack – A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is designed to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. The DDoS attackers usually target a wide variety of important resources from banks to news or social media sites and prevent users from visiting their sites.

Dyn provides Internet traffic management and optimizations services to some of the biggest names on the web, including Twitter, Netflix, Spotfiy, the New York Times and PayPal. If you tried to visit these sites on Friday afternoon, you were likely not able to access the site. 

According to Bruce Schneier, THE ‘security guru’ and internationally renowned security technologist, “over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don't know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state.”

This news is unfortunate for small and mid-size businesses, that are generally unlikely to become a direct target of a DDoS attack.  With this new attack vector, however, many can be affected, as it may disrupt Internet operations and access to larger business partners and service providers.

If you have questions or concerns about this type of attack, please contact our security experts today.