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What Is a DOS Attack and How Do You Protect Your Network from Them?

ddos attack

In today’s internet-dependent world, cyber-attack methods like denial of service (DOS) attacks and distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks pose a significant threat to the stability and accessibility of online services. By leveraging networks of compromised computers, attackers can flood a target with an overwhelming amount of traffic, disrupting its normal operations and effectively shutting it down to the outside world.

The complexity and scale of these attacks make them especially challenging to defend against, while a low-risk and low-effort threshold makes them equally appealing to malicious actors. For these reasons, DOS and DDOS attacks are on the rise, with recent studies showing an 85% year-over-year spike in incident rates in Q4 of 2023. Understanding DDOS attacks is crucial for anyone managing or securing a network. This guide explains the mechanics of DOS and DDOS attacks and how to protect your network from DOS and DDOS attacks. 

What Is a DOS/DDOS Attack?

DOS and DDOS attacks are both cyber ingress methods designed to incapacitate a target’s online services. They differ primarily in sophistication and effectiveness. DOS attacks originate from a single source, while DDOS attacks harness the power of multiple compromised systems — often thousands of them — called botnets, to flood a target with traffic. 

The sheer multiplicity of attack vectors makes DDOS attacks far more challenging to mitigate than their DOS counterparts — though the goal in both cases is to overwhelm the target’s resources and render its services inaccessible to legitimate users. To understand the difference at scale, imagine the inconvenience of having one persistent crank caller harassing your business line versus having tens of thousands of harassers who never sleep.

The Impact of DOS and DDOS Attacks

The impact of DOS and DDOS attacks on businesses and organizations can be profound and multifaceted. These attacks disrupt the normal operations of online services, potentially leading to significant downtime. In 2023, the average cost of service disruption through such methods was $6000 per minute, typically totaling $408,000 in losses. For businesses that rely heavily on online transactions or services, these loss rates can translate into outright financial disaster. Beyond immediate financial implications, attacks can erode customer trust and damage a company’s reputation, as users experience frustration and unreliability in accessing the services they need.

Additionally, service disruptions can serve as a smokescreen for more insidious cyber threats, such as data breaches or malware infiltration, compounding the potential damage. Consequently, developing effective cybersecurity measures is a critical aspect of hardening business resilience. Effective protection against DOS and DDOS attacks involves:

  • Comprehensive monitoring
  • Implementing traffic filtering solutions
  • Developing an incident response plan to address and mitigate attacks as they occur

Identifying DOS and DDOS Attacks

Identifying DOS and DDOS attacks promptly is crucial for mitigating their impact. Key signs that a network might be under attack include:

  • Unexplained traffic surges
  • Significantly slower network performance
  • Complete unavailability of certain services

Websites might load slowly or not at all, while administrators may notice anomalies in traffic patterns, such as spikes from geographical locations that do not match the typical user base. 

Network performance monitoring tools can alert administrators to unusual bandwidth consumption, while security systems might report an increase in requests per second. It’s also common for specific applications or services to become unresponsive, even while others operate normally. Recognizing these symptoms early enables your organization to respond quickly to attacks. 

Preventing DOS and DDOS Attacks

Preventing Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks requires specific, actionable strategies:

  1. Implement Network Redundancy

Distribute your network resources across multiple data centers geographically dispersed. This dispersal makes it more difficult for an attack to target all resources simultaneously, ensuring some level of service continuity.

  1. Deploy Anti-DDOS Hardware and Software Solutions

Use specialized DOS and DDOS protection appliances and services that can detect and mitigate attacks in real time. These solutions often employ anomaly detection algorithms to identify and divert malicious traffic from your network.

  1. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDNs can absorb and spread out traffic across a global network of servers, reducing the load on any single server and helping to mitigate the impact of an attack.

  1. Configure Rate Limiting

Rate limiting controls the number of requests a user can make in each time frame, helping to prevent servers from becoming overwhelmed by too many requests at once.

  1. Establish an Emergency Response Plan

Develop and regularly update a response plan that includes procedures for responding to a network attack. This plan should involve coordination with your ISP, application of countermeasures, and communication with stakeholders.

Defend Your Network with Plus Inc.

Harden your business’s cybersecurity posture with Plus Inc.’s expert IT support services. We offer tailored solutions including virus protection, backup recovery, and firewall management to secure your network. Trust us to safeguard your digital assets efficiently.

What Causes Hard Drive Failure? (And How to Prevent It)

Hard drive failure can result in costly data loss and major disruption in your professional and personal life. Depending on whether the failure mode is logical or mechanical — logical failures consist of software-caused issues, while mechanical failures involve physical damage to critical components — recovering lost data from a failed hard drive can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Understanding the causes of hard drive failure and implementing strategies to prevent them will save you time and inconvenience down the road. This guide covers the most common hard drive failure modes and what you can do to avoid them. 

Common Causes of Hard Drive Failure

Here are the seven most common causes of hard drive failure.

1. Physical Damage

Physical damage is one of the leading causes of hard drive failure and can include everything from dropping your computer to exposing it to extreme temperatures or humidity. To avoid errant physical damage, handle your computer with care, avoiding knocks and drops. Ensure that your workspace is clean and stable. Keep your computer in a temperature-controlled and dry environment, away from extreme heat or cold sources like windows or heaters. 

2. Overheating

The hard drive can overheat and fail when a computer runs continually without adequate cooling. Overheating causes the hard drive’s mechanical parts to wear out faster and can damage sensitive electronic components. Always maintain proper ventilation for your computer, especially if you run it for extended periods. If necessary, use a cooling pad and regularly clean your computer to remove dust and debris that can block airflow.

3. Power Surges

Power surges or fluctuations can cause immediate and severe damage to your hard drive. Insufficient power levels can fry the circuit board, making your hard drive mechanically inaccessible. You can prevent power surge damage by using a surge protector or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect your computer from sudden changes in power. Additionally, you should avoid using your computer during electrical storms or unstable power conditions.

4. Mechanical Failure

Hard drives have moving parts that wear and tear over time. As these parts degrade, mechanical failures become more likely. While it’s difficult to anticipate mechanical failures — parts wear out eventually under any operating conditions — you can prepare for adverse events by periodically backing up your data. However, if you start hearing strange noises from your hard drive, like clicking or grinding sounds, it’s likely a sign of an impending mechanical failure and you should contact a professional immediately.

5. Corrupted Files

Corrupted files can cause logical hard drive failures. This typically happens when a computer is shut down improperly or malware infects the operating system. Always shut down your computer properly, using the operating system’s shutdown process. Keep your antivirus software up to date and regularly scan your computer for viruses and malware.

6. Manufacturer Defects

While less common, manufacturer defects can nevertheless cause hard drive failures. Typical defects include issues with the hard drive’s firmware or physical defects in the hard drive itself. Research and purchase warrantied hard drives from reputable manufacturers. If your hard drive fails unexpectedly soon after purchase due to a manufacturer defect, contact the manufacturer for possible solutions or replacements.

7. Software Errors

Occasionally software errors cause hard drive failures. These can be caused by bugs in the operating system, software conflicts, improper installations, or uninstalls that leave behind bad code blocks. Keep your operating system and software updated with the latest bug fixes and patches to avoid software issues. When you uninstall software, follow the appropriate steps and make sure to remove all components. If you notice recurring software issues, it might be worth reaching out to a professional for help.

Prevent Hard Drive Failure with Expert IT Services

It’s crucial to have an experienced IT provider who knows how to prevent hard drive failure. 

Plus Inc. is a trusted IT services partner with over 60 years of experience in providing value, expertise, and outstanding customer service. From managing your IT network to optimizing your office setup, our dedicated team of experts is ready to assist. 

To learn more, reach out to Plus Inc. today.

What Is an IT Disaster Recovery Plan (And Why Your Business Needs One)

In the second half of 2022, the global incident rate of ransomware attacks increased by 53%. As cybercrime targeting company data grows increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, businesses must consider how they would deal with a catastrophic data loss and formulate IT disaster recovery plans. 

What Is an IT Disaster and How Can You Plan for One?

Data has become the most valuable asset most businesses have, yet only 54% have plans in place that define how the organization would respond to sudden data loss. Depending on how an organization stores data, IT disasters can occur in many different ways:

  • Natural disasters such as fires or hurricanes that destroy on-premises hardware or cloud data centers
  • Cybercrime
  • Data migration failures
  • Power outages
  • Application failures
  • Conflict or political events

Each of these events can potentially cause organizations to lose all or parts of their data. Data losses for modern companies can be outright catastrophic, disabling operations, damaging revenue and reputation, and – in regulated industries – exposing companies to severe legal penalties for any compliance failures related to the disaster event. 

The Essence of an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) refers to a set of predetermined protocols for resuming work and mitigating losses in an unforeseen data loss incident. DRPs are an example of what businesses generally call a business continuity plan, applied specifically to operations and liabilities that depend on access to data. 

DRPs don’t necessarily ensure that a business will always recover losses incurred by IT disasters. However,  having plans in place enables organizations to respond more quickly and prioritize recovery tasks effectively. 

Components of an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Writing an IT disaster recovery starts with a complete accounting of business processes and the kinds of data and applications they rely on for continuity. For each data source and application, there must be a recovery time objective (RTO) that defines losses and milestones for different disaster timelines. Outages in some systems will result in significant losses in days to weeks, others in hours to minutes. These timelines determine how much organizations should spend to reestablish different kinds of systems. 

Another critical DRP component is a system’s recovery point objective (RPO). When data losses inhibit operations, it isn’t always necessary to recover 100% of the lost data to resume work. RPOs describe the minimum age or quantity of files in a system that IT teams must recover to restart operations. While additional recovery past RPOs may still be important, focusing on operational minimums helps teams triage different needs in a disaster event. 

To define RTOs and RPOs, businesses must maintain detailed inventories of internal resources and assets. For most plans, these will include:

  • IT and human resources
  • Insurance policies
  • On-premises and cloud data storage 
  • Suppliers and service providers
  • Applicable compliance regulations

Kinds of Disaster Recovery Plans

Different businesses and IT environments require different kinds of DRPs. Here are some common types and their use cases. 

  1. Virtual DRP

Cloud-native organizations with little-to-no owned IT infrastructure can handle most disaster recovery through virtualization. With data backed up in multiple data center locations, cloud-native organizations can respond to events such as ransomware attacks or application failures very rapidly by setting up new virtual machines, containers, and application instances. Liabilities may still be a concern in these cases, but overall downtime will be minimal. 

  1. Data Center-Based DRP

Businesses that still significantly rely on locally owned IT hardware should always have cloud backups of necessary data in any case. Even if they can’t virtualize machines and applications, they can still ensure that critical data will survive all kinds of disaster events. 

Top-tier service level agreements (SLAs) from cloud storage services now provide data loss protections that are absolutely reliable for practical purposes. For example, Amazon Web Services’ S3 SLA ensures that data is stored in a minimum of three different geographic locations separated by at least 100 kilometers. The calculated reliability of these standards is 99.999999999% object durability and 99.99% availability. 

All businesses should leverage cloud storage services and institute monitoring programs to guarantee that data updates at regular intervals. 

  1. Network DRP

Recovering from damages to owned network infrastructure can be a slow and complicated process. Procuring and setting up the necessary hardware takes time and skilled IT labor. Nevertheless, businesses can reduce their recovery time for network events by pre-determining which suppliers to purchase hardware from and what outside services to contract. 

Holistic IT Solutions with Plus Inc.

Plus Inc. provides comprehensive remote and on-site managed IT services. Our services include support for computers, services, and networking devices. With options for ongoing remote monitoring in critical categories, Plus Inc. is an IT partner that ensures IT issues will cause minimal disruption to your daily operations.

To learn more, contact Plus Inc. today. 

How Your Business Can Protect Itself Against Malware


With the development of technology, malware attacks are becoming more and more common for individuals and businesses. 

Since 2014, security breaches have gone up by 67% and only continue to climb. From client data breaches to substantial financial loss, cybercrimes can have dire repercussions for businesses in various industries of all sizes.

Malware attacks occur in a variety of forms, some of which you may be familiar with, like phishing and viruses. You can decrease the effect of these attacks on your company and safeguard your organization ꟷ and its data ꟷ from possible risks with enhancements in your cybersecurity.

Before diving deeper into the ways you can better protect your business, let’s first understand what malware is and the many forms in which cybercriminals attack.

What is Malware? 

Short for malicious software, malware is a program or software that infects users’ computers, causing damage to the hardware and software, and often disables the system entirely. Malware observes and records keystrokes, steals vital data, slows down systems, and spreads the infected software by infecting other systems.

Some of the most common types of malware you need to be looking out for are: 

  • Viruses
  • Worms (similar to viruses) 
  • Trojans
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Ransomware
  • Phishing 

Signs of a Malware Attack 

Generally, most people do not even notice they installed malicious software onto their computers, not until it’s too late. However, there are several obvious signs you can look for if you have fallen victim to an attack:

  • Computers run slower than usual, like taking longer to load webpages or applications
  • Systems constantly crash
  • An increased number of website pop-ups
  • Randomly disabled programs throughout your computer
  • New and unfamiliar programs get installed onto your computer
  • You notice new toolbars on your internet browser
  • You experience changes to your browser that you did not make 

If you discover that you or your company experiences a malware attack, immediately shut down everything. Disconnect from the internet, as well as any additional wireless functionality such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. That will help stop the spread of the malware.

5 Steps You Must Take to Protect Your Business from Malware

In 2020, there were 4.83 million distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by June of that year, according to Finance Online. These attacks continue to happen, and here are some steps you can take to protect your business from these and other malware attacks.  

1. Strengthen Password Protection

Make sure every staff member understands the significance of secure passwords. You can iterate this by implementing special character requirements and frequent password changes. An excellent way to secure your passwords is to use a password manager. Also, consider requiring multi-factor verification processes, which will only enhance your password protection. 

2. Deploy Security Software and Firewalls

Why is protecting your business from malware so crucial? 

Simple, having anti-virus, anti-ransomware, and anti-malware software in all your security systems is critical to protecting your business from malicious software threats. The software notifies you of any possible threats from suspicious websites. What can you do to remove malware from your system? 

Fortunately, security software can prevent, identify, and overpower any malware that may be infecting your computer.

Also, don’t think for one minute that, because you have a Mac, you are not susceptible to a malware attack. It isn’t only Windows and PC users that need to worry. Your Mac is not immune to malware.

3. Regularly Update Systems 

One of the primary methods used by cybercriminals to infect computers is through holes in the company’s software systems. The most suitable way to thwart these threats and prevent these attacks is by simply updating all your systems regularly. Developers are constantly looking for ways to fix bugs and detect system vulnerabilities and weaknesses and correct any software problems.

4. Perform Regular IT Audits 

Performing regular IT audits for a deeper analysis of your company’s IT infrastructure will also help ensure that you know whether existing controls work efficaciously to safeguard your company’s data. Also, it will alert you of possible threats to your current computer system.

5. Protect Your Hardware

While you protect your software, do not make the mistake of forgetting about your systems’ hardware. Ensure that you have a robust set of security standards in place for your business to protect itself against any theft of the devices and data stored there. 

Small Business IT Solutions in a Simple, Straightforward Way

The threat of a malware attack is a concern that every organization must deal with every day. However, with the right precautions, you can guarantee that your company’s big data remains safe. When you integrate your IT infrastructure with Plus, Inc., you protect your business from malware attacks with our rich security features. 

Looking to protect your business from the devastating impact of malware? Contact us today to speak to one of our friendly professionals and let us know how we can help you with your IT services.