DDoS hack attacks are growing at an alarming rate

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A DDoS attack can make websites collapse under the weight of traffic.

A specific kind of hacking attack is being used more than ever - nearly doubling in the space of a year, according to a new report.

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American internet company Verisign says that between Q4 of 2014 and Q4 of 2015, the number of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks jumped by 85%.

A DDoS is a kind of attack that floods a targeted website or server with enormous amounts of malicious traffic. If it isn't properly mitigated, it can overwhelm the target, forcing it to temporarily crash under the weight.

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They're sometimes used as threat in ransom demands - pay up or we'll take your website offline - as well as for politically motivated attacks. And they're also the favoured tool of "skids" ("script kiddies") looking to cause disruption online.

Verisign produces a report on DDoS activity on an annual basis, and says that Q4 2015 saw the most DDoS activity since it began in 2014. The number of attacks in Q4 2015 was also up 15% on Q3 2015.

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