Tag Archive | "Denial Of Service"

Protecting Your Online Business: Understanding the Types of Attacks

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Protecting Your Online Business: Understanding the Types of Attacks


If you run any type of online business, knowing how to protect yourself from malicious attacks on your site is important. The simple reason behind this is that these attacks can affect your business in a very negative way and cause serious losses. One of the things that you need to do first is to understand the types of attacks that your online business could fall victim to. Here are the most common types:

  • Denial of Service Attacks

A Denial of Service (DOS) attack occurs when attackers flood a website with too many requests so that it goes offline as the server can’t handle the traffic. This has the effect of making your website unavailable.

  • Theft of information

This happens when hackers break into a site and steal sensitive information. This could include the personal information of your clients and members, or the contents of your email messages. This can lead to serious problems for those whose information was compromised as well as a loss of reputation for the business in question.

  • Site defacing

Pretty much a form of vandalism in the online world. A website is hacked and the home page is changed to a different message. Often times it would just be a “Hacked by (insert name here)” message, but can also take different forms. For example, your website could be redirected to another site, or it could be used to deliver malware. This can obviously make you lose revenue and affect the reputation of your business.

  • Affiliate link hijacking

This form of intrusion is a lot more subtle. A site that is compromised will have its affiliate links changed so that all sales go into the account of the hacker rather than yours. This could also be done with hosted pay per click ads, where the ad code on your site is replaced by that of the hacker. Users will not really notice anything too different about the site, but it obviously will make you lose revenue until you realize what is going on.

  • Comment and post spam

This is obviously a serious problem with any site that accepts user generated content, such as blog comments, forum posts or reviews. The spam is either done manually or through the use of automated tools. Usually, this can easily be recognized as the messages posted will look quite nonsensical and have links to websites that are completely unrelated to the context of your site. When done manually, it can be more subtle and be harder to detect. Having a site full of spam comments will reduce the user experience, as a legitimate visitor will have to wade through dozens of spam posts to find anything useful. Having such spam on your website can also affect your SEO and get you penalized by Google.

There are, however numerous ways that you can use to protect yourself from these attacks, which we will see tomorrow.

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Ecommerce Security Risks And How To Deal With Them – Part 2

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Ecommerce Security Risks And How To Deal With Them – Part 2


Besides payment fraud, there are two other main security concerns that you would need to deal with when running an ecommerce site.

Hacking & information theft.

This is another story that is often heard about in the media. Hackers break in to an ecommerce website and steal private customer information. This information could contain names, addresses, purchase histories as well as payment information. Without a doubt, this could be the most damaging thing that could happen to your business, due to the bad PR that would soon follow after such a security breach.

But once again, there are ways to prevent this from happening. Make sure that whatever software that you are using to power your ecommerce site is fully secure and supports strong encryption for sensitive data. Furthermore, make sure that all the software on your server is up to date. Vendors frequently release updates for their software, not just for new features, but also to patch up potential security vulnerabilities.

Maintain strict access control for your back end system. Use a strong password that cannot be guessed. Also, be sure to actually set a password, rather than leaving it at the default one. Many systems create a default user name and password when you install the site. Hackers frequently try these before doing anything else.

Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDOS).

These are attacks whose goal is not to steal information or to defraud a business, but rather to render its website inoperable and thus unable to conduct transactions. These attacks work by having anywhere from several thousand to several million computers simultaneously send traffic to a site in the hope of overwhelming its servers and knocking it offline.

The good news is that if you run a small business, you are unlikely to become the victim of such an attack, unless you have done something that has ticked off a group of hackers. If you have followed the news in the past few months, these types of attacks have been directed at government websites as well as those of large companies in order to send a political message.

In any case, check with your hosting provider what kind of protection is offered against denial of service attacks. Having a basic firewall installed could provide with some help in blocking the attacks once they start.

In conclusion, don’t forget the human factor in anything security related. Many high profile security breaches have occurred not because of hackers who had excellent technical skills and defeated advanced security systems, but due to the victims failing to observe the most basic security procedures. This includes employees giving password over the phone to someone pretending to be from the company’s hosting provider, clicking on links in spoofed (phishing) emails, leaving laptops with sensitive data in public places where they could be easily stolen, etc. Remember, having the highest quality lock on your door will be quite useless if you don’t even bother closing it when you leave for the day.

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