Last week we talked about what DDos attacks are and the lengths attackers go to to try and breach your network. So, what can you do to defend against DDoS attacks, and should you be worried about them? The short answer is that following standard online safety rules will help make sure your machine doesn’t become a zombie. Don’t open email attachments unless you know exactly what they are and why you are getting them. Call or email the sender to confirm before you open it. Don’t open links in emails or text messages – instead go to the website directly and find the information you need. Keep your operating system, browsers, and other software updated regularly; and use an anti-malware system and keep it updated as well.
If you are trying to reach a site that’s being hit with a DDoS attack, there isn’t much you can do on your own. The site owners will need to mitigate the attack in order to free up their servers to serve legitimate users once again. The good news is that most sites have very effective DDoS mitigation methods available to them and can get themselves back online quickly. Try the site again in an hour, and you’ll probably find that the site is back up and working properly. If your company is experiencing a DDoS attack you may find you cannot effectively use the internet, or that company systems you use are not responding. Your company’s IT team will take the appropriate steps to mitigate the attack, and will usually do so quite quickly.
As for your home machine, it’s highly unlikely that you will be the target of a DDoS attack. Bad actors target sites and services used by large numbers of people – either as an act of hacktivism, or a threat to the company in question. Attacking your home network doesn’t really get them anything. If, however, your Internet Service Provider is attacked, you will need to wait for them to mitigate the problem before your service can be fully restored. As with the other examples, most ISP’s have methods in place and ready to go to clear up the problem quickly, so you won’t be waiting very long.
DDoS attacks may be used to send a message to a company, may be an act of revenge or a threat to gain a ransom payment, or might just be done for bragging rights. No matter why they happen, though, you should take steps to make sure your machine isn’t part of the zombie army that makes them possible. Other than that, all you’ll have to do is give the site owners some time to clean things up; and then the site or service will soon be back to normal.