Small businesses ‘far more vulnerable’ to distributed denial of service attacks

Cyberattacks of the kind that resulted in last week's global internet slowdown are capable of destroying small businesses, warn tech entrepreneurs.

Last week saw a conflict between spam-fighting group Spamhaus and hosting firm Cyberbunker in which the latter used a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which floods the intended target with large amounts of traffic in an attempt to render it unreachable.

Phil Rothwell, marketing director for desktop e-commerce software supplier SellerDeck says, ‘Given the open and largely unregulated nature of the internet, it’s hardly surprising that these events happen and we should expect more in the future. Small businesses need to take note, because they are far more vulnerable than larger companies who can afford to make use of content delivery services, such as Akamai, that offer some quality of service.’

Rothwell says that at particular risk are cloud services that offer a cost-effective way of scaling your business.

‘Small businesses should avoid becoming dependent upon them and protect themselves using on-site contingencies. It is for this reason many of our customers use cloud hosting and payments services, whilst keeping their core e-commerce platform on the desktop, under lock and key. This means that even if their broadband goes offline temporarily, they can stay open for business.’

Tim Pat Dufficy, managing director of ServerSpace says, ‘We’ve seen the impact that DDoS attacks can have on global internet users, but the cost of such an attack can destroy a business. Moreover, reputational damage that any sort of downtime can have may prove detrimental to the business’s long-term performance. ‘Hacktivists’ are now attacking smaller businesses, that don’t always recognise the severity of DDoS.

‘Dedicated DDoS protection was once only available to large companies, but now there are more affordable solutions for small businesses that do not have multi-million pound budgets. DDoS protection should be a key component of any business’ structure and small businesses must start to acknowledge that they cannot combat DDoS by themselves.’

Some believe effects of the slowdown has been exaggerated. Adam Cooke, founder of software development company aTech Media says, ‘The ‘slowdown’ hasn’t actually affected us and seems as though it has been somewhat blown out of proportion by the media.’

However, Cooke adds that DDoS attacks could have a ‘very detrimental effect’ on small businesses if one is aimed at them or one of their internet providers.

‘It would instantly take a company offline and lead to them suffering hugely from lost income both while it is occurring and after the event,’ he says.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Cyber Attacks

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