A politically motivated attack on Donald Trump’s websites that began on April Fools’ Day appears to have been a limited success, at best. The fact that the attack was announced in advance and couldn’t be prevented remains concerning, however.
The international activist group Anonymous declared before April 1 that it was going after Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, because of the businessman’s position on issues such as immigration.
“While there was no devastating hack on the Trump campaign, a number of the business mogul’s websites – including trumpchicago.com and trump.com – did temporarily go down,” reported The Hill, a political newspaper published in Washington, D.C.
Whether hackers will keep attacking Trump’s sites at any level effectiveness is unclear because like the federal government, Anonymous appears to be politically divided. Assessments of the attack on Trump’s sites in the technology-oriented media varied widely. Some considered it a limited success and others a messy failure.
The trump.com appeared to be working fine earlier this week, perhaps because the site operators had plenty of time to prepare for the attack. That lends credence to the belief that the attack was largely a publicity stunt.
Anonymous typically goes after targeted websites with DDoS attacks, an increasingly popular weapon for disrupting websites, email or social media accounts. DDoS is short for Distributed Denial of Service.
DDoS attackers try to clog or takedown targeted sites by overwhelming them with high volumes of malicious, computer-generated traffic. It’s a way to silence or disrupt a competitor or an opponent. However, experts say DDoS attacks also can be used to as a distraction for outsiders to install malware or steal data.
Organizations such as Anonymous no doubt have the expertise to launch their own DDoS attacks. But DDoS attacks can be secretly purchased by anyone on the black market of the internet.
Digital Attack Map, a collaboration of Google Ideas and Arbor Networks, reports that a small organization could be taken offline for as little as $150, which could buy a weeklong DDoS attack on a select target.
Delaying or shutting down traffic to communications accounts can be costly to individuals, businesses and campaigns, such as Trump’s presidential bid.
According to some researchers, as many as one-third of all downtime incidents can be attributed to DDoS attacks. The growing threat of DDoS attacks has prompted broadband service providers, including Sioux Falls-based SDN Communications, to add Managed DDoS Protection to its menu of cybersecurity services.
SDN works with Arbor Networks, a leading global supplier of DDoS attack solutions, to offer the solution.
Arbor Networks’ 120-page, 2016 Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report is packed with information about DDoS and other cybersecurity threats facing businesses and other organizations. The report identifies DDoS attacks as the biggest security threat facing telecommunications service providers, mobile providers and data center operators. A few of the report’s many highlights include:
- The trend of significant growth in the size of DDoS attacks continues to increase every year.
- Customers are the top target of DDoS attacks.
- “Criminals demonstrating attack capabilities” is the top motivation behind DDoS attacks, followed by gaming-related attacks and extortion attempts.
- Demand for DDoS detection and mitigation services is increasing.
SDN’s service offers multiple levels of protection to its Internet subscribers. Depending on their preferred level of coverage, customers can receive alerts, 24-hour-a-day support and reports.
Managed DDoS Protection complements other SDN cybersecurity services, including Managed Firewall, Managed Routers and Remote Network Monitoring.