According to statistics from the Department of justice and the FBI, cyber-attacks have currently been on the rise in the last few years and are affecting more users than ever. More recently, the White House has announced that it will be introducing legislation to prevent and prosecute DDOS attackers. But what are DDOS attacks exactly and what does the White House intend to do about them?
DDOS Attacks Explained
The way DDOS attacks work are simple. Every website has a domain associated to it, which is represented by the domain name. However, domains and websites are hosted on different servers and traffic is actually redirected from the domain name server to the actual server of the website.
What hackers have been able to do is overwhelm web servers with so much traffic that the domain name server crashes, blocking any type of access to sites. The way they do it is pretty simple. Hackers infect hundreds and sometimes thousands of machines across the globe by installing some sort of malicious software that allows them to control them at a distance. These machines are then instructed to send thousands of simultaneous requests to websites, effectively crashing the name servers.
DDOS Attacks Affect Everyone
What’s scary about DDOS attacks is that they are not limited to smaller, obscure name servers. In October 2016, widespread DDOS attacks affected the websites of prestigious companies such as PayPal, Spotify, Twitter and many more. The DDOS attacks targeted domain name provider DYN, which is one of the biggest firms out there and is trusted by a large number of big companies and governmental agencies to host their domains.
What was scary about these DDOS attacks is that they reminded all of us that no one is safe and that DDOS attacks can happen anytime. DDOS attackers are becoming more and more sophisticated and harder to prosecute. Furthermore, with the increasing number of connected smart devices out there, it gives hackers to access a larger number of vulnerable drones that they can use to send attacks.
White House to Introduce New Measures
In a recent communiqué, the White House announced that they will be introducing new legislation to combat the sales of botnets, which are large networks of drones that can be activated by hackers, and the sales of critical information such as credit card and bank account numbers. They will also introduce measures against the sale of malicious spyware that can be used for identity theft.
But what will be the implications be for law enforcement? Well for one, advanced criminal justice masters programs will have to be modified to fit the new reality. As a matter of fact, many online criminal justice degrees already have modules dedicated to cybercrime. Furthermore, police departments will have to specialize in cyber terrorism in order to better respond to these attacks.
While the world of cyber terrorism can seem frightening at first, it is still reassuring to see that governments are taking big steps to make the web a safer place. We can expect more and more adjustments to be made in the next couple of years, and new measures introduced to track and prosecute offenders more efficiently.