While cyber attacks related to ransomware and social engineering may make more frequent headlines, Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks are wreaking havoc on businesses of all sizes across a spectrum of industries. It’s important for business owners to recognize these risks, set a plan to prevent DDoS attacks, and learn how to detect them if and when they do occur.
With the average financial impact of a DDoS attack on small-to-medium-sized businesses reaching $138,000 in 2019, it’s time for you to prepare your clients as these attacks increase in 2020.
What Is a DDoS Attack?
A DDoS attack is carried out when multiple malicious sources flood one targeted victim’s network with extensive traffic from different locations until the network crashes, barring access for legitimate users. These cyber attacks are launched at organizations of all sizes—from small businesses to multi-billion dollar corporations—and can cause serious financial and reputational damages.
For example, a DDoS attack launched at an online retailer will make the website inaccessible to customers. The attacked retailer may not even realize what’s happening until customers notice the issue and vocalize their concerns. At that point, business owners have to rule out what’s causing the outage and go through a process of elimination before they find that the source is a DDoS attack. By then, the website may have been down for an extended period of time, resulting in substantial lost revenue. A DDoS attack can also cause serious damage to the website itself—plus other digital assets—that can be costly to fix or rebuild. Here, business interruption coverage is crucial.
Unlike other types of cyber attacks, the motive for a DDoS hacker isn’t as clear. This type of attack isn’t always carried out for financial gain, but instead may seek to do political or reputational damage. However, it’s anticipated that these attacks will continue to evolve towards seeking monetary gain in the future. Regardless of the motives, these attacks can lead to significant lost income for victims.
DDoS Attack Prevention & Detection
It’s anticipated that DDoS attacks will double from 7.9 million in 2018 to 15.4 million by 2023. With these attacks ready to launch at your clients’ businesses at any moment, it’s important to help your clients understand how to prevent DDoS attacks and detect them once it is already underway.
Business owners who take a proactive approach to their cyber security posture will face significantly less risk than their counterparts. Consider these DDoS attack prevention tools and techniques:
- Detect Traffic Flow: A DDoS protection service can monitor traffic flow in and out of your clients’ networks to make sure clean traffic can pass through and notify them if unusual activity is detected.
- Utilize the Latest Antivirus Software: While those update notifications can be pesky, they’re important. All devices that connect to the internet and all networks should be updated with the latest software update as soon as it’s available.
- Install a Firewall: A firewall provides protection against outside cyber attacks and is useful in preventing multiple kinds of cyber attacks.
While these measures can help your clients prevent DDoS attacks, it’s important to note that there is no way to completely avoid DDoS attacks altogether. However, with a cyber insurance policy and a proactive plan in place, your clients will ensure they’re prepared and protected when the time comes.
Detecting a DDoS attack while it’s underway can be a challenge. Most organizations don’t browse their own website regularly so they may not realize that they’re under attack until their customers notify them.
Understanding how to mitigate a DDoS attack revolves around early detection. The faster the attack is detected, the faster your clients can respond and get their network or website back up and running. These are key red flags to look out for:
- Unusual Network Speed: If your clients’ networks are running abnormally slow, this may suggest they’re facing an abnormal amount of traffic (potentially DDoS bots) visiting the site.
- Inability to Access Website: If a website is not responsive altogether, this is a strong indication that your client has already fallen victim to a DDoS attack. This is often the 503 Service Unavailable Error.
When in doubt, it’s always a safe bet for your clients to check with their network admin to identify and diagnose whatever issue is causing an irregularity.
Protect Your Clients from DDoS Attacks With Cyber Insurance
While these cyber risks are a challenge, there are always DDoS attack solutions. A cyber insurance policy with business interruption insurance coverage is an absolute necessity for businesses at risk of a DDoS attack.
A cyber insurance policy can offer your clients broad coverage for protection from DDoS attack and many other cyber events, including social engineering, ransomware, and more.
To help you find your clients the best, most comprehensive coverage available, ProWriters is here to help you buy and sell insurance in the most efficient way possible. Our Cyber IQ Comparative Rate Portal allows you to quote and compare multiple cyber insurance policies from various carriers in just minutes.
Get started today in finding your clients the best possible coverage. Have questions? Contact us or call 484-321-2335 to speak with a ProWriters expert.