Are Vicious DDOS Attacks The New Negative SEO?
If your websites are lucky enough to have NOT been DDOS-attacked (yet), that situation may not last.
And instead of influencing your rankings on Google with normal negative SEO, DDOS attacks are becoming increasingly more favored as a weapon against competitors or individual people.
Think you can block one malicious IP targeting your site? Think again as more and more DDOS attacks use hundreds/thousands of computers in large, sophisticated ‘botnets’.
EDIT UPDATE JULY 26 2016:
In response to feedback to this post and about it elsewhere, let’s clear up a few misconceptions:
MYTH 1: DDOS attacks are very rare because they are illegal and can result in criminal prosecution.
WRONG: The problem with this naive way of thinking is that it assumes there is no criminal activity on the Web and botnet operators in the Ukraine/Russia/China/Narnia are afraid of Californian laws. Seriously?
MYTH 2: DDOS attacks don’t target small businesses online, just big brands.
WRONG: I talk to hosting customers every day and in many tiny niches, the bad guys there have woken up to the power of DDOS attacks to engage in psychological warfare to frustrate/distract/destroy/ their competitors. Information about how cheap and effective botnet DDOS attacks are IS spreading.
MYTH 3: DDOS attacks only happened in the past, they don’t happen much now.
WRONG: Every reputable research source has proven that the frequency and scale of DDOS attacks is growing at an alarming rate and that isn’t going to change any time soon.
CLARIFICATION: For simplicity, I used the Incapsula Business level example below but in fact we use the Enterprise level of DDOS protection which can handle huge attacks (we’ve tested the hell out of it).
Plus, it’s NOT just big name brand/famous websites that get targeted (as the owner of WPX Hosting, I know that we deal with them on an ongoing basis for regular business websites in normal ‘boring’ niches, more on that later).
And if you’re not familiar with what a DDOS attack is, it’s where some a*hole (your competitor or a troll that you’ve attracted, I have a few) pays some other a*holes to flood your website with a massive number of ‘requests’ (traffic basically) to the point where the server hosting that website can’t cope with that flood and goes offline.
You can read more technical details here if you want.
Shockingly, it’s now even possible to order a 1-day DDOS attack (meaning the target site is offline for 1 day) for as little as $50, almost like ordering a gig on Fiverr.
I’m not going to share the sites where you can do that but they aren’t difficult to find.
$50 a day to keep a competitor’s site offline with constant DDOS attacks is peanuts for a lot of unscrupulous entrepreneurs.
According to this source, DDOS attacks rose 180% in 2015 and will continue to grow:
and just in the last week, among many others, these sites were hit:
From what we see here in our WordPress hosting operations and from my frequent talks with WPX customers, DDOS attacks, like negative SEO, are an ongoing fact of life for online businesses now.
And if you think about it, DDOS attacks are a much more immediate and frustrating way for your psychotic competitors to screw with you than toxic backlinks, which Google may or may not count, depending on the established authority of a website.
In our case, we weren’t happy with the conventional protective options so we did a load of testing of more expensive enterprise-level hosting solutions.
Also, conventional firewalls aren’t adequate to deal with a serious DDOS attack and that’s why at WPX Hosting, this week we (expensively) implemented this level of Incapsula DDOS protection for ALL our customers’ sites (read about hosted on different c class ips here).
Incapusla’s service would normally cost $299 PER WEBSITE for that level of protection (completely free for our customers) and is FAR beyond what virtually every other hosting company out there offers when it comes to DDOS security right now:
The point is that wherever your business websites are hosted (if not at WPX Hosting), you should CHECK with them about what their anti-DDOS measures are to protect the uptime of your websites.
Email me at support(at)terrykyle.net if you have followup questions.