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InfoSec / Cyber

Types of Cyber Attacks: DDoS Attacks

Types of Cyber Attacks: DDoS Attacks

This article explains what a DDoS attack is and how to manage if your organisation is attacked.

A DoS attack is a denial of service attack.  It occurs when users are denied access to computer services or resources, usually by overloading the service with requests.  Your server or your website will be repeatedly bombarded with requests for information or resources.  This overwhelms the system making it unusable and unavailable.

An attack becomes a 'distributed denial of service' (DDoS) when it comes from multiple devices.  This is the most common form of DoS attack on websites.

Further information from the NCSC about DDoS attacks can be found here: DoS Guidance NCSC

How does this affect schools/organisations?

Your organisation may be attacked even if you do not have a high profile website.  Your organisation's website might be attacked or your server or systems.

Hampshire Alert recently posted an increase in the volume of attacks: Increase in DDoS attacks

DDoS-for-hire services are now openly available online, which makes it a relatively cheap and easy type of cyber attack.

View our Cyber/Information Security Best Practice Area for more guidance and checklists about Information and Cyber security.

How do we know if we are being attacked?

  • If your website is suddenly unavailable.
  • Small attacks over time (check system event logs).
  • The attack may be a distraction for other cyber crimes or fraud.  Attackers may use this as a way to check your system's vulnerabilities as a way to prepare for another type of attack at a later date.

Further information can be found at: Action Fraud

How to prevent a DDoS attack?

Generally, these types of attacks are prevented by having modern and robust cyber security tools in place.

The NCSC have a downloadable document explaining how to prepare for such attacks: Prepare for denial of service (DoS) attacks

Aside from the technical aspects of protecting systems, it is always recommended to have a cyber response and business continuity plan in place.  Ensure all staff know what to do in the even of a cyber attack. 

What to do in the event of a cyber attack?

Tell someone!  Report to IT. Report to SLT. 

Unplug the computer from the internet by removing the ethernet cable or turning the Wi-Fi off.

If you are a victim of a ransomware attack we would recommend reporting this to Action Fraud: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ as well as your data protection officer so they can advise about the data loss.  Most cyber crimes like these will also need to be reported to the ICO by your data protection officer.

Isolate the infected device and pass to IT 

Always ensure there are backups you can restore from.

Little Guide to ACTION FRAUD