On Monday, cybersecurity firm, Imperva, released a report on Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks--a crippling form of hacker attack that can literally take a business or person offline. In a DDoS attack multiple computers, often infected with malware, attack a single system by overloading it with requests, thereby consuming all available bandwidth in the victim's Internet connection and/or using up all of the target's processing power.

DDoS attacks are used by hackers to render websites inaccessible, and have been utilized as part of extortion schemes in which criminals make some demand in exchange for not launching such a takedown.

A business hit with a DDoS attack can suffer serious losses--online transactions cannot be processed, and prospects may turn to competitors if a firm's website is unresponsive.

While some of the material in the Imperva report is intended toward a technical audience, the report -- compiled by analyzing data from nearly 8,000 DDoS attacks detected last quarter -- indicates some alarming trends about which we should all be aware:

One thing is certain: DDoS attacks are a problem that is not going to disappear any time soon.

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