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Tech Start Ups – Beware of denial-of-service , or DDoS attacks by hackers

DDos Attacks

Cyber criminals are all set with their brand new plan of extortion ! They have recently targeted several small technology startups with an aim to extort money. According to a New York Times report, start-ups that have already been hit by the DDoS attacks are:

  • Vimeo, the video-sharing company;
  • Basecamp, a project management software company;
  •, the link-shortening service;
  • Shutterstock, the stock photography agency; and
  • MailChimp, the email marketing provider.
DDos Attacks
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 Who and how do the hackers organize DDoS attacks?

Attackers typically employ a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which is used to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. Through DDoS, they first knock a victim offline using a flood of traffic, and then ask for ransom in exchange for protection from the attack.

 Small tech start-ups have become a particular target of these attacks because they “have things of value that a DDoS attack can hurt,” said Andy Ellis, chief security officer at Akamai. “It’s the modern equivalent of someone walking into a shop and saying ‘That’s a nice business you’ve got here — shame if anything happened to it.’”

Victims essentially have two choices: Pay the ransom and pray the attackers don’t come back for more, or pay for a DDoS mitigation service. Companies also can sign up for website hosting services with giants like Amazon and Google that can accommodate larger flows of attack traffic.

Security experts say a surprising percentage of victims pay the ransom to make the problem go away.

 Who can help from the dreaded DDoS Attacks?

Companies that specialize in protecting against DDoS attacks. These include Cloudflare, a four-year-old company based in San Francisco that spreads its clientele’s traffic across its many data centers and so can quickly recognize and filter out a DDoS attack before it hits a company’s network. It offers basic services free but charges for additional security, like reducing the severity of DDoS attacks. Most customers pay $20 a month, but large businesses can pay as much as $2,000 a month.

Other companies offering services like this include Akamai, based in Cambridge, Mass., which bought Prolexic, a DDoS mitigation service based in Hollywood, Fla., for $370 million in December, and Arbor Networks.

Executives at these companies admit that the wave of attacks has worked to their favor. For example, Matthew Prince, Cloudflare’s chief executive, said his company had increased revenue 450 percent last year, partly because of  awareness of DDoS attacks.

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