Ransomware and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are two of the most common cyber threats facing businesses today. The former consists of malware that, when deployed, encrypts or otherwise restricts file access while simultaneously demanding payment from the victim. The latter consists of network spam in which a hacker floods the victim’s server or network with hundreds of thousands or even millions of traffic packets.

Recently, however, some hackers have combined elements from both of these cyber threats to create a disturbing new type of cyber attack. Known as a ransom DDoS attack, it features characteristics of both ransomware and a DDoS attack.

What Is a Ransom DDoS Attack?

A ransom DDoS attack is a cyber threat that’s characterized by a DDoS-based extortion. In other words, a hacker will attempt to extort money from the victim by threatening him or her with a DDoS attack. If the victim doesn’t pay, the hacker may proceed with a DDoS attack, resulting in severe harm to the victim’s server or network.

How Ransom DDoS Attacks Work

Most ransom DDoS attacks begin with an extortion message. If your business is targeted with a DDoS attack, you generally won’t experience any performance problems with your server or network. Rather, you’ll receive an extortion message. The hacker who’s behind the attack, for example, may send your business an email. In this email, the hacker may threaten to take your server or network offline unless you pay a fee. If you don’t pay the fee, the hacker may — or may not — conduct a DDoS attack.

Tips to Protect Against Ransom DDoS Attacks

The best way to protect against ransom DDoS attacks is to improve your business’s DDoS security. Paying the fee demanded by the hacker isn’t a surefire way to prevent him or her from conducting a DDoS attack. Like with traditional software-based ransomware, the hacker may simply demand another payment. And after agreeing to the second payment, the hacker may demand a third payment and so forth.

Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate DDoS attacks so that they don’t harm your server or network. You can use a firewall, for instance. Nearly all firewalls offer protection against DDoS attacks. They’ll filter the hacker’s spam traffic so that it doesn’t flood your server or network.

You can also use a content delivery network (CDN) for DDoS protection. CDNs are used in conjunction with a main server. They’ll store and serve files to users from many locations, thus taking some of the load off of your main server.

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