DDoS cyberattacks: 3 things correctional administrators should know
While preventing or predicting a DDoS attack is difficult, it’s important to recognize the signs of an attack
A recent, massive DDoS cyberattack rendered major websites, including Twitter, Reddit and Netflix, inaccessible in vast portions of the United States. Here’s what a DDoS attack is, why correctional administrators should care and how to identify threats.
1. What is a DDoS attack?
One of the most popular methods of cyberwarfare, a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack sends numerous junk requests to a network, overwhelming the network to the point of a slow crawl or a complete standstill, according to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). As a result, legitimate users cannot access a website or websites.
A recent DDoS attack targeted a major domain name system (DNS) host. A DNS is the part of the web infrastructure that directs users from a web address (such as Twitter.com) to the company’s online servers and enables access to the site. These attacks have targeted a wide range of victims, from banks to entertainment services to social media. Some notable recent attacks include the disruption of Sony’s Playstation network and major credit card companies like MasterCard and Visa.
2. Why should correctional administrators care?
Correctional facilities are not immune to DDoS attacks. In January 2016, 20 Thai prisons were victims of a major DDoS attack. These cyberattacks can be carried out by anyone, but they are most commonly carried out by the hacktivist collective Anonymous. Network security is always threatened, often under protected and administrators need to make sure their information is safe-guarded.
3. What can be done to protect your correctional facility?
While preventing or predicting a DDoS attack is difficult, it’s important to recognize the signs of an attack and reach out to your IT professionals as soon as possible. US-CERT has outlined the following as signs that you may be under attack:
- unusually slow network performance (opening files or accessing websites)
- unavailability of a particular website
- inability to access any website
- dramatic increase in the amount of spam you receive in your account
For more information about cyber security issues threatening corrections today, click here.