(Ping! Zine Issue 34) – Have a server or a website? Are they protected from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks? If you have a server or a website and they are important to your organization, you need to do everything you can to protect them from major DDoS attacks. You may have heard the acronym DDoS over the last several years, but do you know how to protect your website and server from major failure and downtime? Meet Black Lotus.
“Every site and server is inherently vulnerable to DDoS,” says Jeffrey Lyon, president of Black Lotus. “Employing your own countermeasures or using a DDoS protection provider only enhances your chance of survival.”
About Black Lotus
“As a startup in 1999 we were much like any other hosting business but we quickly found our niche in distributed denial of service protection (DDoS)” says Lyon. “By 2003 we were the dominating force in protection service as many of our customers and the former customers of CIT/FOONET (which had a DDoS protection service) were asking us to change our focus.”
“Our customers enjoy our services as we monitor the overall health of their site or server while allowing them to focus on their business,” says Lyon. “Each of our customer resources has a one minute uptime monitor through HyperSpin and we collect outage notifications and proactively attempt to solve the outage, whether or not DDoS related, to ensure the customer is notified promptly.” Lyon explains that Black Lotus is selling experience and peace of mind. “We’re not aware of any competitors that offer this level of individual attention at anywhere close to a decent price.”
Even if you’re with another hosting provider
Black Lotus offers a proxy service specifically designed to protect your server even if you are hosting with another provider. DDoS protected proxy service can be setup quickly to screen and mitigate malicious traffic before handing it off to a customer’s server. “Our product differs from the competition as it is significantly lower cost and completely screens the request before handoff ensuring that there is absolutely no accidental leakage of attack traffic,” says Lyon.
The company also offers a lightweight version of the proxy product for customers who want to screen requests for malicious behavior such as SQL/XML attacks. Recently Black Lotus discovered another benefit of their proxy service. “Now we have the ability to immediately stop affiliate spam by shutting down spam offenders within the proxy itself,” says Lyon. “We used this just last month to stop an affiliate ‘Joe Job’ attack against a very prominent casino customer that could have caused them to be shutdown elsewhere.”
Get a server, get DDoS protection
Black Lotus offers managed website hosting and both managed and unmanaged dedicated servers. “Generally, when a customer contacts us we recommend a server package with full management as this will allow us to evaluate and mitigate threats at both the network and server level,” says Lyon. “Server packages also offer the most bang for your buck when it comes to sheer power and protection.”
What is DDoS?
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) is when a person or a group of people carry out specific attacks on a server, making it unavailable. DDoS attacks are generally caused by hackers who scan home and office computers for vulnerabilities, root those systems, and install attack drones. Drones are then controlled by the hacker, often using internet relay chat (IRC) as a command line, who then launches attacks for personal entertainment, extortion, or leases the botnet out to others who wish to do the same.
Some hackers will also launch attacks against their business competitors. Hackers also use viruses that have a payload designed to DDoS a particular target, generally aimed at large corporations.
First and leading, there’s a reason
Early this year Black Lotus launched their new slogan “First and Leading” to accurately describe their position in the industry and the quality they want to achieve with the Black Lotus brand. “We have unparalleled experience in the industry given that we have a six year jump start on our competitors,” says Lyon. “We are one of the very few companies offering a premium bandwidth blend in conjunction with DDoS protection.”
Lyon says today’s normal practice is to find the cheapest providers with the best deal on ingress bandwidth such as Cogent or AboveNet – completely opposite of what Black Lotus offers its customers. “We’ll use the higher end bandwidth even if the cost is prohibitive in order to ensure the quality of our network,” he says. “Our new Enterprise network is based almost entirely on PEER 1 transit and private peering relationships.”
Get more with a seal
Black Lotus offers a DDoS Protection verification seal program identifying that a website is protected from DDoS attacks. “DDoS Protected logos are not a new concept, almost every provider offers one but we stepped it up a notch and started using PHP code that queries a customer database to verify whether or not the domain where it’s being hosted is in fact protected by our service,” says Lyon. “The seal program is incredibly important in the DDoS protection business since a lot of claims made by providers range from somewhat frivolous to outright scams.”
DDoS protection starting at $35 a month
Many companies try to take advantage of customers who need DDoS protection services. Competitor prices can range from $5,000 – $11,000. More customers are discovering more affordable, leading services such as Black Lotus. “We actually operate two brands. The Black Lotus brand has 1 Gbps protection packages starting at $229.00,” adds Lyon. “We also have our BLCC Gold brand (http://www.blccgold.com) which has protected web hosting packages as low as $35 per month for customers who only require entry level service and are not wishing to invest in the full Black Lotus Elite or Mitigation Critical Service.”
DDoS protection for everyone
More companies and website owners are beginning to see the advantages and needs for DDoS protection services. “Initially, DDoS protection was only something that those involved with IRC or some type of dubious activity might need,” says Lyon. “Around 2000 – 2003, we began seeing legitimate businesses seeking protection. This includes web site template providers, casinos, payment systems, and other such businesses that may find themselves the target of extortion.”
According to Lyon, casinos have become a major part of the company’s client roster as the potential for monetary loss when a casino is attacked can be devastating – significant dollars could be lost as a result of not having DDoS protection. Black Lotus has also experienced significant growth in Eastern Europe, South America, Africa, and Asian markets by offering alternatives to credit cards or PayPal – all require strict verification to close a sale. Instead, Black Lotus offers payment systems like Liberty Reserve or Russian payment processor WebMoney, which close sales in these markets more effectively.
Getting started with DDoS protection services
Getting started is incredibly easy. When a customer sends an inquiry to [email protected], Black Lotus DDoS technicians respond promptly to ensure customers get the answers and information they need to keep their websites and servers protected.
For emergencies, Black Lotus has set up a chat feature on their website at http://www.blacklotus.net. “Customers with an emergency can let our chat operator know that they have a DDoS emergency,” says Lyon. “The chat operator will immediately put you in touch with an on-call network engineer to ensure an expedited setup.”
Black Lotus is featured in Ping! Zine web hosting magazine and Gawkwire. The DDoS protection company will have a booth set up at HostingCon 2009 in Washington, DC. Black Lotus specialists will be playing Call of Duty on the Xbox 360, challenging contenders to a game or two. Get all the answers you need to protect your website and server from DDoS attacks by stopping by the Black Lotus booth.
About Dave Young
Dave Young is a professional writer, marketing consultant, SEO guru, and founder of Young Copy, a leading promotional and technical writing services firm. Visit www.youngcopy.com to learn how you can boost your company’s revenues.
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