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b2ap3_thumbnail_ddos_attacks_becoming_a_problem_400.jpgWe’ve mentioned distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) before, and we’ve emphasized the importance of protecting yourself from threats which can cause downtime. However, we think the recent attacks by Lizard Squad take DDoS to an entirely new level.

Their interference with large gaming networks on the Internet has led to more than just downtime for one company. In fact, Sweden was completely without Internet because of an attack against a fairly unknown gaming company.

Earlier this month, Microsoft’s Xbox Live online video game service became the target of distributed denial of service attacks from a group known as Lizard Squad. These attacks are designed to overload a particular server with traffic and bring down service and access to that particular server. This same group also brought down Sony’s online gaming service earlier this year. They’ve even gone so far as to tweet various cryptic messages that these attacks are just the beginning, that “the clock is ticking,” and that it’s only a small dose of what’s to come on Christmas this year. Whether or not these threats are real or not will be decided within the next few days, but we do know that these DDoS attacks, while somewhat concentrated, can have widespread consequences.

Such widespread chaos has already been seen in Sweden. DDoS attacks generally aren’t enough to bring down the Internet service for larger ISPs, but Telia, Sweden’s largest service provider, proved otherwise. Because of Lizard Squad’s attack, residences in the country were without Internet for 45 minutes. Telia delivers service to nearly 1.2 million homes. The service outage effectively took down fixed-line broadband, digital television, and even VoIP connections.

All of this came out of one DDoS attack. This just goes to show that even if a DDoS attack doesn’t go as planned, it could still affect your company. Extended downtime can be an issue for businesses, even if it doesn’t seem like it’s that important. Imagine for a moment that your business loses access to its network for 45 minutes. Then, imagine paying your entire team for that 45 minutes of downtime. Suddenly, this extended downtime is a big deal, and a huge chunk of change out of your budget.

This is further compounded by how easy and accessible DDoS attacks are to pull off. Lizard Squad might only be a group of angry gamers who want to bring down large companies, but the damage they can do proves that DDoS attacks are a real threat. Igal Zeifman, a researcher at Web security company Incapsula, has this to say concerning these threats:

This trend is likely to continue for two main reasons: First, anyone can access ‘DDoS-as-service’ solutions today and generate mid-sized attacks for a less than $50. Second, the coverage of attacks is instant and widespread. When all you need is a PayPal account, instant Internet notoriety has never been easier.

While NTConnections’s Unified Threat Management solution is a comprehensive and preventative solution to many online threats, the nature of a DDoS attack makes it difficult to predict and even more difficult to prevent. In this case, you want to make sure that further attacks are prevented from the same address. NTConnections can identify where the attacks are coming from with our remote monitoring service, and block the specific IPs from accessing your server. This eliminates the possibility that they can perform further DDoS attacks against your network.

Preventative measures are important, but so is reacting to issues as they come up. Our professional IT technicians can be there for you when you need it most. For more information about how to protect your business from the latest threats, give NTConnections a call at (703) 288-9767.