A cyber attack that can cause headaches for Internet users and website owners has claimed the Better Business Bureau as a victim.

It’s called a Distributed Denial of Service attack, and it can affect just about any website.

“A distributed Denial of Service attack is basically when a network of machines try to take a site offline or a server offline,” said SuperGeeks CEO Tim Caminos.

Caminos says it basically crashes the website, and that’s exactly what happened to the Better Business Bureau, which came under attack a few weeks ago.

“Our local website was down. Local folks called us and said, ‘Hey, we’re having trouble accessing information,’ or ‘We have a scam to report.’ Unfortunately, we were unable to pull up any data during that time,” said Greg Dunn, CEO, Better Business Bureau Hawaii.

Caminos says both small and large businesses can be a target of such an attack.

“Generally, the whole reason people do this is just to stop the flow of information, so whether it’s to take someone offline, whether it’s to prevent someone from buying services, that’s what these attacks are for,” he said.

So what’s the risk to consumers? Caminos says it’s relatively low since there’s usually no data lost or stolen, but for businesses, it can be a wake up call.

“It’s a good thing that we understood how to protect ourselves and basically what it said was that our computers did not get hacked,” Dunn said. “Nobody came in and took any information, but what they did was they stood at the door and knocked on the door long and hard.”

Tech experts say attacks like these are nearly impossible to defend against, but website owners can take a few simple steps to safeguard their data, including installing virus detection and malware protection software.