A DDOS attack floods your servers, or parts of your IT system, rendering their normal activities redundant. A typical example is that of a company web site that is brought down by a simulated flood of requests creating great inconvenience, reputational damage, and financial loss.
From the perpetrators point of view, a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a very effective weapon to achieve a desired result. It is relatively quick and easy to perform, making it the weapon of choice for those with political, criminal or perhaps even competitive motives.
Not bad for a morning’s work by a faceless hacker.
Fortunately such attacks are now easier to block due to a better understanding of how they are created and the use of more effective monitoring and alerting tools.
Unfortunately we can’t rest on our laurels.
DDOS attackers are getting smarter and more inventive. In the financial sector attacks are being used to manipulate markets. Hackers create a flood of buy and sell orders on trading systems to slow down trading, which in turn allows them to profit fraudulently. In this manner the DDOS attack is no longer the sting itself, it becomes the smokescreen for other fraudulent activities.
And the latest phenomenon is the TDOS – telecommunications denial of service. The purpose of TDOS is to occupy a phone line or lines to block its use. For example, fraudsters may continually call a line of someone they are seeking to defraud. When the line is busy they proceed to use the target person’s online bank account to transfer funds illegally. It is thought that relevant account details are obtained before the attack through online phishing methods, or by using stolen account information.
The risk of DDOS attacks can’t be eliminated, but it can be mitigated with the right defences in place. However, any risk assessment must now take into account the fact that such attacks are evolving in sophistication and morphing into new areas, suggesting that a reappraisal of their impact is both timely and prescient.
Controlling and protecting the entire information supply chain has become a series of instant solutions to sudden problems. The threats have moved on – and so must the solutions.