Just like cowboys in western movies there have always been three types of hackers, white hats, black hats, and grey hats. The good guys, the bad guys, and the ones whose actions are a little harder to define.
The White Hat Method (DDoS for good)
White hat hackers on the contrary, might be employed by a company to find security holes in their own system in order to boost security. In the same way that a sheriff protects his town from bandits in western movies, a white hat hacker protects the networks their employers pay them to protect.
In order to protect a system, it stands to reason that you fully understand what that system is capable of standing up against. Without benchmarks and tests, the level of protection you have is pure speculation and theory. There are a number of firms that provide “stress tests”, which is just a pretty word for launching a DDoS attack against the website to see how it holds up.
The Black Hat Method (The bad side of DDoS)
Black hat hackers usually work privately, using their talents to benefit their own financial gain. The way they use DDoS attacks to pad their own pocket book usually only rests on their own creativity. The most popular methods have been for extortion or blackmail.
Yes, it’s an ugly business.
The typical scenario involves a hacker out for some bucks, and a website that stands to lose even more money than the demand if the site goes down. Canbet Sports Bookmakers learned the hard way when they were hit with a demand – and an attack – that resulted in $200,000 worth of losses for every day the site was down.
Trends that have blurred online security services ethics
Locksmiths will generally not help you break into your car or home without proper identification proving that it is your property. Those providing DDoS services are not required to do so. Most are also not so keen on giving a hoot. They’re in it for the money and accept that they may just be taking down someone’s site.
Although it was not their primary goal, Anonymous may have contributed to the rise of DDoS for profit. Having had their fiasco broadcast by mainstream news, more hackers may have decided to jump on the bandwagon.
Another contributor to this rising trend is the increase of e-mail security. Botnets are programs used for DDoS attacks, but they were once used in e-mail spam in order to break into individual computers. Several e-mail hosts have made huge strides in preventing and detecting all types of e-mail spam, as a result criminals with botnets have been forced to find other ways to use them.
As a result to the rise of DDoS services, prices for the services have gone down. Which makes it even easier for rival businesses to take advantage of. What has impacted this trend even more is that DDoS software is freely available online.
This creates a huge dilemma for online stores. When it comes to digital stores, no one has to fight fair anymore. It’s no longer just about search engine ranks, businesses can easily pull out the dirty tricks and employ a DDoS service against a competitor. In happens in SEO. And it’s definitely being used by businesses to disrupt the competition.
It’s Not As Underground As You Think
You would be surprised to find that many of these services accept PayPal. Yes, exactly what I was thinking – how convenient.
PayPal has commented that they do plan on restricting the use of their services for any business which offers threats to servers or web domains, but for now it’s still business as usual.
In addition to this, it’s difficult to track down “DDoS for hire” services. Perpetrators are clever and may change web domains often.
Your Best Defense
Have a plan in place. It has become more and more apparent DDoS attacks are not going away anytime soon. It’s important to have a plan in place for dealing with DDoS attacks. A good place to start is hosting your site with a web host specializing in DDoS protection.