Category Archives: Security

DDoS Cyber Attacks

Earlier this week many well-known Internet sites were brought to a screeching halt by a cyber attack. The target was one of the backbone supports of the Internet, that provides a centralized service upon which many, many Internet sites depend. The attack was a DDoS attack, which stands for Distributed Denial of Service. Here’s how it works. In the course of normal Internet traffic, a device with an Internet address sends a request to an Internet server. For example, when you enter a name in your web browser, the browser sends a request to that web site’s host server. The server processes it and sends back a web page which the browser renders. A device containing malicious software can send many, many bogus requests which the server must process, thus it can’t service legitimate requests. Thus, Denial of Service (DoS). But all the server has to do is stop processing requests from that Internet address. The hackers counter this by loading their malicious software on hundreds of thousands of devices, and triggering them all at once. Thus, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). They load the malware on devices that are poorly protected. The devices can be anything from wireless routers to as simple as baby monitors. The security hole is that manufacturers produce the devices with default user names and passwords, preferring ease of setup by their customers rather than robust security. The customers typically don’t even know there is a potential problem. To learn a tip on picking secure passwords, go to here.

Security: Passwords

Passwords. I recently heard a tale about a disaster that befell someone who picked an insecure password. A strong password is at least 10 characters long, and contains a mix of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. The strongest passwords are a mix of random characters, but who can remember those? There is, however, a trick. Make up a sentence based on something you can easily remember, like where you lived when you were ten years old, and take the first character from each word or number, and throw in a couple of special characters at the end. For example, “I lived at 123 Pleasant Lane, Anytown, Anystate”. Becomes “Il@123PLAA@@”. No security is perfect, but this technique is pretty good.