The Impact of DDoS Attacks on Cybersecurity

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Today, businesses use online technologies to provide critical customer-facing and internal services. As a result, they are becoming more susceptible to cyberattacks.

Many of these attacks are DDoS or distributed denial-of-service attacks. These attack types target a business by overwhelming traffic to overwhelm or exhaust resources.

Costs

Many businesses lose revenue when DDoS attacks disrupt their systems. According to the 2020 Corero DDoS Threat Intelligence Report, a single attack can cost a company more than $10,000 an hour. These costs include any remediation or compensation the business must pay its customers.

So how do DOS vs DDOS attacks? A DDoS attack is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). It involves armies of infected devices, called bots, controlled by hackers. The bots are infected with malware that enables them to send requests to a victim’s server or network. This flood of requests overwhelms the server and causes it to stop functioning.

The attacker can choose the number of bots in the army and the amount of traffic they want to generate for the attack. The bots can be anything from personal computers and IoT devices to servers, routers, and workstations. Once the bots have flooded the target, the hacker can command them to stop their assault.

DDoS attacks can be motivated by financial gain or ideological motives. Attackers can use them to demand ransom payments from businesses. In other cases, attackers launch DDoS attacks because they have a grievance against an organization they disagree with. Hacktivists who want to make a political statement also favor this attack.

Impact on Business Operations

Companies that can’t depend on consistent service can quickly lose customers and revenue. And if they’re forced to spend time and resources scrambling to restore IT systems during and after an attack, they can face extra labor costs and strain on existing teams that may be tapped out from responding to customer complaints and queries.

The attacks most often occur from large networks of compromised devices. Known as botnets, these are groups of laptops, desktops, and IoT devices infected with malware that allows attackers to control them remotely. The bots are then used to generate a large amount of traffic aimed at targeted servers and networks, causing them to be overwhelmed and unavailable to legitimate users.

Networking-layer attacks, such as TCP flood and SYN attacks, use a vast pool of captured devices to send continuous pings to the target. These pings overwhelm the system, bringing it down. Asymmetric attacks, which use reflection and amplification techniques, are designed to hide the origin of the traffic. Attackers can conceal their roots using the default behavior of internet services.

Businesses must also consider the reputational damage from a DDoS attack. If a company’s customers can’t access services, they can turn to competitors for alternatives, damaging a brand’s reputation.

Impact on Customer Satisfaction

A DDoS attack can damage an organization’s reputation, and that is a big problem for companies in industries where customers can quickly churn away if they can’t trust the company to deliver high-quality service consistently. Rebuilding that trust can be a long, costly process.

A well-thought-out, holistic security concept should include multiple layers of protection to mitigate the impact of DDoS attacks. That includes hardening systems, next-gen firewalls, and secure remote access. It should also have a solid patch management program, email phishing testing, and user awareness. A good security concept will incorporate tools like data quota and disk partition functions that can minimize the impact of an attack by separating malicious traffic from legitimate network activity.

Finally, a security concept should include an emergency access point to prevent employees from becoming locked out of critical systems during a DDoS attack. This is especially important for companies that rely on internet-facing services such as e-commerce websites, online stores, and customer support systems.

Typically, attackers use bots compromised by malware to send a flood of traffic to the target service, overwhelming it and knocking it offline. These bots may be willing accomplices or innocent bystanders infected with malware because of inherent device vulnerabilities. In addition to the primary targets, attackers often target secondary victims used as attack proxies. These are IoT devices, gaming consoles, and even home routers.

Impact on Employees

Many business-critical systems rely on the same infrastructure components that power the internet, making them prime targets for DDoS attacks. When these systems are overwhelmed by a torrent of malicious traffic, they can’t respond to legitimate requests and may crash. This disrupts business and leaves employees without the necessary tools to do their jobs, which drives up labor costs.

CISOs need to consider the cost per hour of lost productivity when planning their cybersecurity budgets. As more and more employees work remotely, having reliable connectivity is critical to their ability to complete tasks and communicate with colleagues. DDoS attacks can interrupt this workflow and have significant financial and reputational impacts.

Attackers typically have several motives for launching DDoS attacks. They might seek to generate bad publicity for a company they dislike or undermine trust in a long-established institution such as a public utility, brand, or government agency. They might also be motivated by a desire to interfere with military operations or other espionage activities.

DDoS attacks can be complicated to combat. While preparation and training are essential, IT pros must be prepared for the unexpected and improvise in the face of an attack. They need to coordinate with service providers to monitor the status of scrubbing centers and other resources that help them filter out malicious traffic. They must also watch how hackers evolve their tactics to evade recovery efforts.

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