4th February 2015
The amount of valuable and powerful information and content online is vast and expanding daily. The technology that has enabled this has also developed rapidly. However, internet security and web device security hasn’t kept up with these rates of change. The incentives to breach cyber security measures have never been greater and thus the web and web devices have never been more vulnerable.
The back end of 2014 saw cyber security grab headlines more than ever before and led to it being predicted as big issue in 2015. Major servers proved to be disturbingly vulnerable to DDos attacks from hackers whose motives ranged from economic and political to simply attention seeking.
The 2014 annus horribilis for Sony and it’s digital security was highly publicised. There was the stir caused by hackers leaking emails of the Sony vice chairperson calling Angelina Jolie “a minimally talented spoiled brat”. The same hack resulted in data on the personal information of Sony employees, copies of unreleased films and information about Sony executives salaries taken and released. Then in late December in an unrelated attack the Sony Playstation Network was brought down by a DDos attack, the same collective of hackers took down Microsoft’s Xbox live network over the same period.
On New Zealand shores Spark’s broadband service was brought down by a DDos attack in September 2014. The attack originated overseas and it’s final target was also overseas but it used Spark’s servers as a part a ‘DNS amplification attack’ that was targeting Eastern Europe.
The most common form of online threat in 2015 are these DDos attacks. These attacks use the internet to overwhelm a network connection or server to the point that it cannot provide it’s normal services. They launch them by using a network of bots (botnets) which are basically hijacked web capable devices that can be commanded as a group to overload servers or network connections.
These attacks inconvenience millions of people at a time as well as cost businesses millions. A study of 270 North American companies of all sizes conducted to quantify the damage of DDos attacks found the average dollar cost to the business was US $40,000 an hour. Of the firms surveyed 45% had been impacted by a DDos attack at least one time.
In 2015 this trend in internet security is set to continue. Though security teams will battle to protect against DDos attacks there are too many new opportunities for hackers to realistically expect a reverse in the increase of attacks. This means business with web presence in 2015 will need more comprehensive internet services than simply hosting. Security, storage and backup services will and should be increasingly sought after as a part of a beefed up package of service to businesses.