Once upon a time the resources and skills someone would need to take down your website or knock over your app would have been considerable. Not so any more.

For literally a fistful of dollars many characters operating in the internet Wild West will turn their capabilities on a target and, as quick as you can say “is it just me or…?”, they can take a site offline. They can cause terrible damage and huge inconvenience for users in the process.

When it was a complicated and expensive thing to do it tended to be used on bigger, obvious targets like governments and multinational companies. Being smaller and more anonymous was a degree of defence.

Now that it’s so cheap and easy, what’s to stop a competitor from deciding today is a good day to shut you down? A disgruntled client is a few keystrokes and a Bitcoin payment from getting petty revenge at whatever slight they consider you’ve committed against them.

Attacker shut down

That’s what makes today’s announcement that one of the biggest networks used to do this dastardly work has been shut down in an international operation.

Webstressor.org sold cyber attacks and is thought to have been behind hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage to high street banks last year. Computers have been seized in the UK, Holland and beyond.

It’s great to see this kind of concerted action taking place and hopefully it sends a message to the kind of people who run these services. However, where there’s money to be made there will always be someone willing to make it. They just get smarter about how they do it or how they hide themselves.

Knowing that this kind of thing goes on is an important part of your defence. You can’t stop an attack like this without serious help, but you can take measures that mean should you be a victim you can get up-and-running again in the least amount of time possible and with all of your valuable data intact.

The era of the General Data Protection Regulation makes this responsibility an even higher priority for businesses. So, if you’re not sure what you would do if this happens to you, now is the time to give it some thought. If you don’t know where to start, give us a call…

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