This past weekend, the Meetup site went down. It went up. It went down again. A site that’s down isn’t rare. It happens to a lot of websites (just think of the last site you went to that was down temporarily). But Meetup didn’t go down due to a bad host. Meetup went down because it was being held for ransom.

How can a website be held for ransom? Like this: the CEO of Meetup got an email stating that the site would be shut down unless he paid a sum of $300. Before he could even respond, though, the site was shut down. Meetup decided not to comply with the third-party hackers, and, instead, they brought this story to the media. The thing is, though, that Meetup isn’t the only site that has ever faced threats from hackers.

In the Face of Extortion

Website extortion happens all the time. It’s one of the reasons that some websites are down on a regular basis. Most of the time, website owners don’t like to let the public know that such things have happened, so this problem has never really surfaced until now. Why did Meetup decide to make this problem known? Because the company knew that this kind of extortion can never really end.

Once a company pays a small fee to keep a site online, that cycle might not stop. After the first amount has been paid, additional fees may be required. This could continue for months or years, so it’s simple to see why Meetup wanted to put an end to it all. It’s hard to track down the third party hackers that got to the Meetup site, but some hosting companies do offer DdoS support.

DDoS Support Options

A Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS) attack isn’t fun for anyone involved. Meetup has been able to steadily stay online for almost a week now, and that means a lot of frustrated users. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the attack, but nothing has been reported yet. Meetup has spent millions of dollars protecting its site too, though that proved to be futile due to the way that hackers attacked the site (Meetup is now patching those holes as quickly as possible).

What about smaller sites? What can you do to prevent a DdoS attack? Some hosting companies do offer DdoS protection, and that kind of protection might be worth looking into. Here’s what to look for:

  • Real time support
  • A proven track record
  • Protection that keeps up with changing technology
  • Available technical team at all times

Attacks like the one that Meetup experienced will keep happening as technology changes, that’s just a given. But, paying for protection against these attacks means staying one step ahead of the game at all times. Any company you sign up with for this kind of protection should be on top of changing technology, so that you can keep your site safe.

The Cost of DdoS Protection

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At the enterprise level, DdoS protection doesn’t come cheaply. You’re looking at a few thousand dollars per month to keep your site safe. CloudFlare is one of the few companies that offer free DdoS protection (at a basic level), and additional protection at higher levels. Does every company need some form of DdoS protection? Typically, hackers will go after startups in the spotlight like Meetup because these companies appear to have enough money to get sucked into the kind of extortion ring that hackers like (the truth is, though, that most startups just don’t have millions of dollars to throw around).

Will hackers target your website? Possibly. If you are attracting attention, though, it’s never a bad idea to make sure that you have the right kind of protection in place. It will cost you, but you can always check out what CloudFlare has to offer. Or, you can check out a different kind of hosting option that gives you more control over possible attacks.

To compare hosting companies and see what really happens under the hood, take the time to review or view hosting companies on SiteGeek.com – you can never do too much comparison homework!

4 thoughts on “DdoS Attacks: How Real Are They?

  1. According to Kaspersky Lab; companies rely on IT service providers to protect them against DDoS attacks. A survey report defines 28% of businesses thinks that protection against DDoS is not their concern. While 40% of small businesses are sure that they are fully protected by IT service and hosting providers. 9% of small and 2% of large businesses depend on the police and the government. Study shows that large companies affected 43% over one year. Expert also gives advice that an attack could cause great loss approx $52,000 even for small company.
    IT providers do not usually offer this protection as a default option. Many providers are unable to provide protection against DDoS attacks. Reliable protection can only provide by specialized companies which gives protection against cyber threats by highly efficient technologies.

  2. Los Angeles hosting provider has deployed the Corero SmartWall® Threat Defense System (TDS) with SecureWatch® Analytics. It will inspect traffic, detect threats and block attacks in real-time. New solution blocks the DDoS attacks while maintaining full service connectivity and availability to avoid degrading the delivery of legitimate traffic. SecureWatch Analytics generate instantaneous email alerts when the attack hits a predetermined threshold.

  3. Hackers are more sophisticated then the security systems. They have been using mix of methods to bring down the entire servers with DDoS attacks. This problem is more prevalent in shared hosting environment, when multiple sites are hosted on single IP. To detect such a attack, websites are moved slowly to different IP’s and affected website is focused. If it is on the IP, then moving the sites to another IP works, but, sometimes, attack is on multiple IP’s, which is really a serious issue. Recently Dutch Government website faced such a attack.

  4. I am very happy today as Sony has totally recovered after facing attack of DDoS on their PlayStation Network. As I am the customer of Sony and using their services from last few years so when the issue related to connectivity arises, it disturb me as it as it affects my personal as well as my professional life. But now everything is under control and everything is fine as this issue is totally corrected.

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