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DDoS attacks 'on the rise'

10/25/2012 | Security |

With the strategies used by hackers evolving all the time, it's a constant challenge for website owners to make sure their sites are safe from criminal activity.

While strong anti-malware solutions will no doubt be an essential part of your site's defences, one area that might be a worry is the danger posed by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

These work by overloading your web servers with huge amounts of traffic, usually from botnets, that make it difficult for legitimate users to get through. As it's impossible to separate genuine users from malicious requests taking up bandwidth, it's a problem that's very hard to defend against and has the effect of essentially making your site inaccessible.

It's also an issue that's getting worse, according to one new study. Prolexic Technologies, which offers DDoS protection services, revealed recently the number of attacks aimed at its clients spiked significantly in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the same timeframe last year.

The total number of attacks recorded by the firm rose by 88%, while the size of them also increased. The firm observed: "Last year, a DDoS attack in excess of 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) was notable, but today it seems commonplace." Few enterprises in the world have the infrastructure to withstand such assaults of this size, so it may be the case that businesses need to put contingency plans in place to minimise any disruption.

Overall, the average attack bandwidth increased by 230% compared with last year, rising to 4.9Gbps. However, the good news was that the duration of attacks has dropped over the last year. From July to September 2011, the average attack lasted for 33 hours, but this is now down to 19 hours.

While this could still cause a major problem if you're using your website as a sales platform, being able to recover from DDoS attacks as quickly as possible will be essential in ensuring your losses are kept to a minimum.

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