Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Is the threat of a large-scale DDoS attack enough to convince organizations to bow to a ransomware attack?
It might be a good time for companies to invest in DDoS protection , as hackers have begun to use the threat of large-scale DDoS attacks to carry out ransomware attacks on organizations .
According to a new blog post from Cloudflare, a major company, in the Fortune Global 500, was the target of a DDoS ransomware attack ( RDDoS ) in late 2020. The attacking group claimed to be Lazarus Group , North Korea’s largest and most active hacking division .
This extortion attempt was part of a larger trend of ransom campaigns that has been developing throughout the past year . Cybercriminals will likely continue to use similar methods, as they have been quite successful.
What is a DDoS Ransomware?
Unlike a ransomware attack in which cybercriminals enter a company’s network in order to block their files, RDDoS attacks use the threat to obscure the Dell website. ‘company with traffic overload and this can be crippling for business.
Just as an organization can use cloud backup and other similar services to protect its data from being blocked following a ransomware attack, DDoS protection ensures that a company’s website remains secure if it is suddenly flooded with traffic overload.
What is a DDoS attack?
Before continuing and to better understand what we are talking about.
DDoS is an acronics which means Distributed Denial of Service . Attacks of this type target websites and online services. The goal is to flood the site with more traffic than the server or network can accommodate . The purpose is to make the website or service unusable.
Traffic can consist of inbound messages, connection requests or fake packets. In some cases, victims are threatened with a DDoS attack or attacked at a low level . This attack can be combined with an extortion threat than a more devastating attack unless the company pays a ransom in cryptocurrency . In 2015 and 2016, a criminal group called the Armada Collective repeatedly extorted money from banks, web host providers and other companies using this method.
How Do DDoS Attacks Work?
The theory behind a DDoS attack is simple: flood a server with requests so that it reaches the limit that available resources allow. If the attack is successful, your server, service, website or network is rendered inoperable.
The primary way a DDoS is accomplished is through a network of remotely controlled, hacked or bot computers . These are often called “zombie computers”, we have also seen them in the techniques of Zombie Phishing . These zombies , organized in networks called botnets , are used to flood websites, servers and networks with more data than they can accommodate.
Botnets can send more connection requests than a server can handle or send huge amounts of data that exceed the bandwidth capabilities of the targeted victim. Botnets can range from thousands to millions of computers controlled by cybercriminals. Your computer could be part of a botnet without you knowing.
What are the symptoms of an attack?
DDoS attacks have distinctive symptoms . The problem is that the symptoms are so similar to other problems you may have with your computer that it can be difficult to understand without a professional diagnosis. Symptoms of a DDoS include:
- – Slow file access, both locally and remotely
- – Inability to access a particular website
- – Logout from the Internet
- – Problems accessing all websites
- – Excessive amount of email spam
Most of these symptoms can be difficult to label as unusual . However, if two or more occur over long periods of time, you could be the victim of a DDoS and check them out.
Phenomenology of a DDoS Ransomware Attack
A DDoS ransomware attack is like pointing a gun at someone and asking them for their wallet. It is not known if the gun is real (or loaded), but to avoid an unpleasant misunderstanding, the money is handed over.
In these attacks, in fact, the hackers threaten to carry out the attack, but have not yet performed any. In some cases they launch a minor attack as a demonstration action.
The attack covered in the Cloudflare article started like many other attacks, with ransom emails sent to employees of the organization. These emails contained a note that read:
Please do a Google search of “Lazarus Group” to take a look at some of our previous work. Also, search for “NZX” or “New Zealand Stock Exchange” in the news. You don’t want to be like them, do you?
The current price is 20 Bitcoin (BTC). It’s a small price to pay for what will happen if your entire network goes down. Is it worth it? You decide!…
If you decide not to pay, we will start the attack on the indicated date and will keep it until you do. We will completely destroy your reputation and make sure that your services remain offline until you pay… “.
The attackers then began sending a large amount of traffic to one of the company’s global data centers , firing gigabits of data per second to a single server. This led to a DDoS event and generated a series of unpleasant inconveniences.
Next, the criminals launched an attack at the end of a working day that was difficult to mitigate due to the fact that the organization was still using services to mitigate previous attacks.
Mitigating DDoS attacks can be quite difficult when an attack is already underway, which is why companies should consider using dedicated and proactive DDoS protection .
We will likely see an increase in similar attacks this year , so now is the time to take the necessary precautions or risk having the company’s website taken down or worse, having to pay a ransom in order to continue with the services offered.
The SOD proposal for companies
Due to the possibility that these DDoS Ransomware attacks become more and more frequent, we think we are a good time to evaluate one of our services in this regard.
CDN against DDoS ransomware attacks
One way to mitigate attacks is by using CDN ( Content Delivery Network ) services such as Cloudflare . These services distribute a static copy of the site on their servers around the world. When the site is requested by a client, the request is processed by the closest CDN server, reducing the loading time.
The use of this type of service filters access to the company site by distributing traffic to other servers that keep a copy of the site.
In this way, not only is the site loaded via the CDN server closest to the user, reducing the loading time, but the traffic is distributed territorially and what actually reaches the server is a fraction of the real one .
For our customers who use different services, it is necessary to design an ad-hoc solution. Contact us to find out more.
Based on what the actual need is, choosing hosting for a website is essential. The resources needed to host a fast and secure portal must be the basis on which to decide which plan to choose.
Choosing the right provider for the server hosting plan can be complicated, and it’s easy to get lost in the alternatives that the network offers. In addition to the price, it is also essential to consider the performance, safety and assistance offered by the provider.
Server Hosting for SOD (Secure Online Desktop) website
The offer that SOD offers is complete and presents solutions for every need. Through the dashboard it is possible to keep everything under control and access the various features of the service. The control panel is based on Plesk, one of the world standards for the management of this type of services.
Domain and hosting
Through the main section of the integrated Plesk control panel it is possible to:
– View important hosting and domain information.
– Remove and add new domains, subdomains and aliases
– Administer the hosting settings
– Create and manage databases and users
– Install SSL certificates
– View domain statistics
Also in this section you can access the backup manager which also allows you to set an automation for creating backups.
The hosting service for the website includes email addresses linked to the chosen domain. These can easily be created or removed from the appropriate section in the panel.
For each email account it is possible to assign storage space, aliases and automatic replies to messages or the redirection of the same. It is also possible to set spam filters and block email addresses.
The hosting space for SOD websites has the possibility of installing additional tools. These can be set and eliminated through the appropriate section.
You can easily install CMS such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, but also other tools with both commercial and free licenses. Applications dedicated to e-commerce, online marketing or eLearning are ready to be installed, just to mention some areas of interest.
The apps offered are ready to be implemented with a single click and cover a wide range of possible needs.
Uploading and managing files on the host space is facilitated by the File Manager integrated in the control panel. It is also possible to edit the files directly from the integrated code editor.
Moving, adding or deleting documents on the server is very simple and does not require the use of additional software.
You can view detailed reports on the use of the resources provided with the subscription. Useful statistics such as detailed analysis of storage space and monthly traffic can be easily consulted to keep an eye on the expansion of the hosted sites.
If you have subscribed to different plans, you can view reports for each of the subscriptions.
WordPress, the well-known CMS used worldwide, has a privileged section in the control panel offered by SOD through Plesk. From here it is possible to manage the installation of the Content Manager and check which plugins and themes are installed.
Through the section it is even possible to manage multiple instances of WordPress. You can also conveniently test new CMS features in a sandbox test environment without the risk of compromising platform installation.
Hosting for a website – Available server hosting plans
The server hosting plans available with SOD are 3 and cover the most common needs of those who want to add their presence to the web in a simple and safe way.
The Starter plan offers an included domain, 20 email addresses and 100Mb of mailbox space. The web space is 10 Gb and traffic reaches 2 Tb monthly. Features are really interesting for hosting a simple website capable of managing the first growth processes on the network.
The Business and Ultimate plans are designed as more complete solutions and offer 2 and 4 domains respectively. The web space ranges from 20 to 40 Gb and the traffic from 5 to 10 Tb. Consequently, the number of databases and e-mail boxes available also increase.
Try the control panel for free with the demo account. In this way you can see how simple it is to use and full of useful features for the management of hosting a website.
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