Meetup is noted as one of the best places to set up local Meetups with like minded people whether it be business related or simply to learn something knew. Millions of dollars are spent per year on securing the website and ensuring that site visitors have a good user experience.
Last Thursday a Hacker sent an email to Meetup stating that unless he or she was paid $300, he would be attacking their website. Meetup has chosen not to pay the low amount and has tried to mitigate the attack. The hacker started whats called a DDoS Distributed Denial of Service attack. You might be asking what is a DDoS?
Definition – A Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers. This is the result of multiple compromised systems (for example a botnet) flooding the targeted system with traffic. For more click here.
What does the definition above mean? It means a hacker has most likely installed Malware on millions of unsuspecting computers and has programed them to all visit the Meetup website at the same time. This basically overloads the servers and brings the site down.
So the fact that Meetup which is a large scale website with over 15 million users was vulnerable to such an attack brings up the question, What can we all do to protect our small websites? You definitely want to take precautions.
- Make sure you are on a good web hosting plan. Plan in advance by asking what should you do if your site is under attack.
- Use Security Scanning Software. If on WordPress, then use BruteProtect, WordFence, Better WP Security, Sucuri and others
- Use Firewalls
- Use Anti Virus Software
- Have Strong Passwords. This is not a strong Example1. This is a Strong Password Ex@mple-1!-99 . Basically you want to have a password that uses various characters that can prevent a BruteForce Attack.
- Protect your home computer with updated software and programs like Norton so your computer doesn’t become a zombie computer used in an attack.
- Consider using a CDN or Content Delivery Network. This is one of the best tips!
- Set up an external monitor to check if your website is ever down and receive alerts by email or text messages.
- Learn to read log files so you can see where people are coming from to your website.
Now Website Security is a topic that is forever evolving. Computers are getting more powerful, hackers are getting more creative and there are systems that are not always protected properly. Does that mean you shouldn’t be online? NO! It’s like saying since there are criminals walking the streets I just won’t go outside. Obviously thats not a good solution. Just be mindful of your website and make sure you follow the tips above.
Thanks for reading and please share.