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Cyber attacks to pose increased risk to businesses
03 Feb 2016
by Rhea Alton

Shropshire businesses are urged to take action and protect their websites against increasing cyber attacks.

The advice comes after HSBC bank defended a potential attack on Friday (Jan 29) and as software experts suggest attacks, which can bring down entire websites, were getting bigger and more sophisticated.

Katy Jones, managing director of Shrewsbury-based IT company Network Support Solutions, said the recent attack on HSBC combined with a newly published report by software company Arbor Networks highlighted a worrying trend.

She said: “The report suggests that over recent years Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which have the ability to knock whole websites offline by overloading them with traffic, have been getting bigger and bigger with more businesses suffering.

“It’s thought the attacks, which are often carried out by automated bots, are also getting more sophisticated with some now capable of targeting specific areas of a website.

“It’s a huge concern to all companies which operate and rely on a website to do business.

“HSBC bank came under a DDoS attack on Friday but successfully defended against it. We also know of local businesses who fell victim to similar cyber attacks last year.

“The impact was pretty high and not something you want to be dealing with when you are trying to run a successful business.

“We would urge all business owners to take action and install protection before it’s too late.”

Ms Jones, whose company is located at Shrewsbury Business Park, added that whilst not all attacks are avoidable there were a number of defence mechanisms which businesses could put in place to reduce the risk.

She said: “A filter, such as that sold by Cloudfare can be used by companies with an E commerce site. This is a type of filter which can detect if the logon to the site is by a real person.

“Or Barracuda offer a Cloud DDoS firewall which has several capabilities to secure a website against advanced DDoS attacks.

“Companies offering website hosting also buy into additional DDoS security and will be happy to let clients know what their policy is.

“And at a more local level, routers such as the Drayteks have a DoS defence setting which can also be set at differing levels of protection.”

Cyber attacks are often prompted by a variety of motives including ideological reasons, attempts to knobble the competition, maliciousness, or, in some serious cases, extortion.

Any website can become the victim of such an attack and recent cases include the Irish National Lottery and the BBC.

For anyone wishing to know more about the services provided by Network Support Solutions should contact 01743 290588 or visit the website www.networksupportsolutions.co.uk.