While it can seem impenetrable, the internet has a range of vulnerabilities which can expose websites to attack and hacking. One of these vulnerabilities has been exploited a lot in recent times and you have likely seen the reports in the news. It is called a DDoS attack, and it is something to take seriously if you operate a business.
Below is some information to get you up to speed with how a DDoS attack works and how moving to electronic signatures can help to prevent them.
How Do You Access a Website
The best place to start is with a brief explanation of how a website works,
Once a company has designed its website, it provides this information to a web hosting company who makes their site accessible. When the page is launched, the company is able to choose and pay for a set amount of bandwidth. That is the amount of transfer needed for visitors to view the page.
Once the bandwidth has expired, the site is no longer accessible.
This situation is usually a thing of the past, however, it’s the bandwidth aspect which is the most important.
There are only so many visitors that a hosting provider can accommodate for before a website becomes unresponsive and eventually falls over. You have likely seen this happen when there was a big breaking news story and your local news station website can’t keep up with the number of visitors.
How Can This Be Used as a Weapon?
Unfortunately, the nature of how a page is hosted is open to attack.
When a hacker installs malicious code on a computer, it isn’t for the purpose of stealing banking information or even your passwords.Instead, it is to gain control of a small section of your computer which allows it to request a website.
Over time, as hackers infect computers they accumulate quite a large list of zombie devices, also known as bots. Once they have a sufficient amount and have chosen a target, they can take control of these devices and command them to constantly request a website.
In contrast to the example above, these bots don’t get bored and simply stop trying to access the page, giving the hosting provider a chance to get the site back up and running. Instead, these zombie machines are told to repeatedly request access to the same site at the same time without stopping.
This leaves hosting companies in a horrible position of trying to mitigate an attack while also attempting to return a site back online.
Why Is an Electronic Signature Important?
The primary way for a hacker to gain access to a system like yours is through email. With accounting and customer service department staff accustomed to opening attachment and links sent to them, this is the easiest place for a hacker to gain entry.
Using electronic signatures for both your company and those you do business with will help to verify the identity of a sender and potentially the contents of the email, helping to prevent mistaken clicks and installations.
In addition to securing your email with electronic signatures, be sure to educate your staff about appropriate email and internet usage. For example, there are no concerns with them browsing the Groupon Coupons page for Babies R Us as long as they don’t click any ads sent to them in an email or anything that opens in a browser window.