DDOS Attack – Not Chicken Little

Spane, 6 years old, in April of 2010

My own personal DDOS, Spane, 6 years old, in April of 2010

So, yesterday, August 9, 2012, there was a DDOS attack on the servers that host The Good Plate. This is the second time this has happened. This is not something for which the hosting provider is at fault – this is some miscreant doing damage.

Have you ever heard of a DDOS attack – it’s a Distributed Denial Of Service. Basically, thousands of computer send simultaneous requests to a single server, and there are so many requests that the server is unable to respond, and has to shut down until the attack stops.

It’s as if you’re in a room with a hundred people, and they are all asking you different questions at the same time. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I feel like I’m under at DDOS attack when Spane starts asking me “Mom, why does this? Mom, why does that? Mom! Mom! Mom!”. You know how it goes if you have kids.

Why do DDOS attacks happen? Computers that are infected with zombie bots that have been programmed to attack when instructed by the programmer. These programs often call home to get instructions, or act like a Trojan Horse and have a date and victim embedded in their programming.

I would hope that most people already have good virus protection, and malware protection, that should hopefully be able to spot these bots and kill them before they can do any harm. However, if you don’t have virus protection (a lot of Mac owners are under the false impression that they are impregnable), or your virus definitions are out of date, or you are using high-speed Internet without a hardware firewall or a software firewall, your computer could be a host for one of these bots. I would also recommend a software firewall that will alert you to any programs trying to make outgoing requests that are not on an allowed list.

In 2007, Estonia was the victim of a DDOS attack that brought the country to its knees. That’s an entire COUNTRY, not just a server. That’s what I worry about. Although conventional warfare is nasty, a large-scale DDOS attack on this country would severely cripple us – imagine not being able to get your email, surf the web, watch Netflix, text your friends and co-workers, and all the other things we now find essential. Making sure that your computer is secure, with the latest patches for all your software is a step in keeping our country safe.

I have had a hardware firewall for years, but I thought about it and realized that even though a router is a hardware firewall, it only protects against incoming packets, not outgoing. If fubar.exe is trying to call home to get instructions, the router will let the call through without a hitch. So, I installed Comodo, free from Comodo Software, and it’s working just fine. I was concerned about memory, but, so far so good. I suggest that even though you might have a hardware firewall, a software one to detect possible outbound malicious traffic is a good idea.

Please share this with your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors.

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2 Responses to DDOS Attack – Not Chicken Little

  1. Sheldon Mckinley says:

    Thanks for spreading the word. I’ll post about this myself.