What Is a DDoS Attack and How Are You Contributing to Them?

If you can remember back to when designers were envisaging the future, it was full of refrigerators with television screens in them where you could browse sites like the Groupon Coupons page for Verizon while cooking dinner and there were small vacuum cleaners that would take care of our carpets during the day while we worked.

Hang on a minute! This IS the future!

That’s right, the future is here with a range of time-saving convenient devices, however, with them also comes a large internet security risk.

Keep reading to find out more.

Let’s Start With a Brief Understanding of How a Website Is Hosted

Once the files for a website are ready, they are provided to a hosting company who ensures that the world has access to the website. Not only this, however, but it also responsible to ensure that the website responds quickly and correctly.

How quickly a website can respond depends on a few different things, however, the primary cause of a slow website is too many visitors. You have likely experienced these instances when you were browsing a local news website during a breaking story. Of course, once you realized that it wasn’t going to work you moved on to another website or news platform.

For normal everyday usage, these hosting companies are pretty spot on with how well they manage real people access a website.

The key is real people.

What Is an IoT Device?

IoT stands for Internet of Things, and it essentially refers to any device which connects to the internet. This can range from your refrigerator, your security cameras, and even your baby monitor.

Because each of these devices accesses the internet and provides smart functions, it needs a basic level of the operating system to power it all. This is where the risk lies.

Given that these devices are largely set-and-forget, most users don’t bother to open up or adjust any security settings. And as you know from using a computer, viruses are aplenty and can wreak havoc if you aren’t protected.

These devices are no different. Once a hacker is able to identify a flaw in the operating system of an IoT device, they are essentially given access to all of these devices operating around the world.

What Happens Next?

At the start, nothing. A hacker will accumulate a list of these flaws and the devices they can infect until they either have a big enough list or they  have chosen a target.

Once a hacker has a target in their sights, they can utilize their list of flaws to access milling of IoT devices. However, their goal isn’t to take control of them, instead, it is to command them to access a single website. All at the same time.

As you can imagine from the explanation above, this results in a website becoming extremely slow until it eventually becomes unresponsive.

The biggest problem with these situations is that while a human user would simply give up trying to access an unresponsive site, these devices are commanded to constantly request access to the same site.

This means that the hosting company responsible is attempting to restore a site which is still under attack.

How Can You Prevent Your Devices From Being Used?

The easiest way to prevent your devices from being used in this way is to look through their options and settings and activate any security measures you can. Additionally, be sure that you keep the firmware and software of these devices up to date, as manufacturers are routines becoming aware of flaws and releasing software patches to address them.

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