Cyber Attacks don’t just happen overseas

Cyber Attacks don’t just happen overseas

Last week the New Zealand Stock exchange was taken offline by a DDoS attack for four days, but yesterday the New Zealand Met Service suffered an attack, and they were hardly impacted. So, what was the difference? Preparedness!

DDoS stands for ‘distributed denial of service’ and, in its simplest definition, is a form of cyber-attack where a hacker gains access to your website or information and essentially tries to hold it to ransom.

DDoS attacks can’t be prevented, it’s like trying to stop an enemy country firing missiles. All you can do is understand that the risk exists and prepare ways to defend yourself and mitigate any attack so you can return to normal as soon as possible.

We spend a lot of time defending against DDoS attacks, and there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t see one or other of our 1000 websites suffer an attack of greater or lesser magnitude. This is one of the services we provide as part of our web hosting service.

One of the primary services we use to help defend sites is Cloudflare.

Cloudflare allows us to isolate your site if it is attacked and deploy security challenges and delaying tactics that means your site is less affected by an attack and gives us time to respond.
Sadly, even if we do manage to win the battle with a cyber-attack, there can be consequences in the aftermath. We have, for example, seen sites temporarily lose their placement in Google, but we work to get that back as soon as we can. The major aftereffect of a cyber-attack is loss of confidence from your customers in your site; again, we can work with you to help you to send emails to clients worded to rebuild trust and other supporting services to help you recover.

The best way to minimise the damage, as the Met Service did, is to be prepared. We are in the process of moving all the domain names we manage for clients to the protection of Cloudflare, but we don’t manage everyone’s domain name for them. Over the next few weeks, we will be contacting every customer that isn’t already in our Cloudflare account to work with them to protect their site from the effects of a DDoS attack.

Should you be worried that your site is going to be attacked? Yes and no. Yes, in like catching a cold or flu – you never know if or when it will happen, and no, by letting us help to put in measures to mitigate an attack we can be there to help more effectively if an attack does occur.