In this new year, companies should be prepared for more battles with cyber criminals who are bent on putting down any company with presence on the Internet. Cyber attackers use distributed denial of service (DDoS) to attack company websites. This is a technique used by the attackers everyday.
To those who are not aware of what this technique means, it is a system of running a coordination of home personal computers in order to flood interested websites with unreasonable requests until nobody is able to access the website.
Some companies have good security system capable of blocking majority of the DDoS attacks. However, the attackers are getting more serious each day with more sophistication and increased volume as was experienced in 2010. It is therefore expected that the trend will be intensified in the year 2011. According to the chief scientist at Arbor Networks, a network security firm, the attackers seem to always be ahead of most companies. The scientist however assured that security companies are also developing counter-attack mechanisms to confront the attackers.
Protesters have also always used home personal computers to cause havoc for company websites. It would be recalled that home personal computers were used in the attacks against the websites of Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and PostFinance, a bank based in Switzerland. The protesters made use of them to deal with those companies for suspending services to WikiLeaks whistle blower site.
According to Danny McPherson, head of research VeriSign, an internet security firm, the implication of DDoS is a damage to the brand name of the company that suffers from such attacks. It is not just a temporary outage of website services. He continued that an interruption of that nature means loss of revenue to any company because many customers would be lost in the process. The real estimate of losses that could arise from a DDoS attack cannot be confidently ascertained.
Another major worry is that DDoS attacks caused by cyber criminals who control networks of home personal computers that have been infected (referred to as botnets) are getting more widespread. According to Gunter Ollman, the research head at Damballa security company, any web service can be dealt with by the cyber criminals at anytime.
In November 2010, a company helping to deliver content on behalf of big websites, Akamai Technologies, was able to prevent attack against five big Internet retailers, according to the spokesman, Michael Cucchi. he names of those targeted retailers were not mentioned.
The attackes against the five big retailers commenced on when the Christmas shopping season started. Thousands of home personal computers which had been affected in four countries were made to bombard the websites of the retailers. The attack was to bring traffic about 10,000 times more than the traffic they receive on a normal day. The loss that would have been recorded would have been as high as $15 million.
Cyber criminals are getting more armed each day. They are getting prepared more than ever. The year 2011 is expected to be a challenging one for retailers who want to stay in business and all security companies.