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
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!