One of the most common types of security breaches you have to be on the lookout for is DDoS attacks. They are extrmely disruptive to online businesses, services, and all types of companies that use the internet to operate. Since 2020, these kinds of attacks have increased by more than 100%. In this article, we’re going to teach you how to stop DDoS attack prevention, how to protect yourself against them, and, also, how to respond in the case of an attack.
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DDoS Attack Prevention, the basics —- what is a DDoS attack?
DDoS stands for Distributed- Denial- of – Service. A DDoS attack is a malicious and coordinated attempt to disrupt, hamper, and throw the proverbial monkey wrench into the gears of your server, service, or network. How do hackers, and other types of cybercriminals do this? By overwhelming the target and its infrastructure.
DDoS attacks are carried out through the use of multiple networks and internet-connected machines. The attacking army, this gigantic tech infrastructure, consists of multiple computers, cellphones, tablets, and other devices that have a WiFi connection. These devices are infected with malware that allows them to be controlled and manipulated – like a puppet – by attackers remotely. Once these occur, the devices are – from a POV of a cyber specialist – hijacked — they are referred to as bots or zombies, and groupings called, a swarm or a botnet.
Once the attackers have enough zombies or bots they can direct them efficiently to attack someone’s network. They send remote instructions to each of the compromise devices so they act automatically. When they start their frenzy, their onslaught on a business, they begin by sending requests to the target’s IP address. This is utterly and completely normal, it’s what normally happens when someone wants to access your website. The thing is that your server, no matter how robust it is, has a limit. It has a choking point. If it receives too many requests at once, it short-circuits, becomes overwhelmed, and simply shuts down — resulting in a denial-of-service to all types of traffic.
These types of attacks are easy to organize and execute and over the last decade they have ramped up. Not only have they increased, but the average length of an attack has skyrocketed by over 500%. Almost every company has had an attack on their mainframe, the longer the attack persists, the longer they are offline, unable to operate properly or sell their stuff.
For example in 2020, Google was attacked. The spearpoint of the aggression was mounted for 3 Chinese ISPS and had Google scrambling to maintain its usual service. How long did the attack last? Over six months. Google was in a state of siege for half a year.
How to protect against DDoS attacks?
Let’s talk about some actions you and your team can take to safeguard yourself and have a plan for DDoS attack mitigation. It’s not a foolproof plan, but it helps. What’s incredibly complex about DDoS attacks is the fact that they can be mounted pretty fast, using other people’s computers and devices. What’s even more damning is that the only cure for an attack is separating, one by one, device and IP addresses — in other words, filtering out zombies and bots from actual paying customers.
How to ID DDoS attacks.
The first step in DDoS attack prevention is identifying when you’re being attacked. Here are some of the symptoms to look for:
- Suspicious traffic originating from a single IP Address or a region.
- Service suddenly becomes slow.
- A bizarre spike in traffic.
- A lot of traffic from users with a singular digital profile — geolocation, web browsers version, device type, etc.
- A surge of requests to a single page.
- Odd spikes at odd hours of the day.
Normal traffic or attack traffic?
It’s hard to differentiate between attack traffic and normal traffic, nevertheless here are some tips. It’s normal to have a spike in traffic during seasonal periods or during the launch of a new product or service. If you’re getting swamped during times when normally your website is fairly peaceful then you’re being attacked.
One solution for stopping DDoS attacks is blackhole routing. A network admin can create a blackhole route and funnel traffic into that junction. In its simplest form, a blackhole filters out traffic based on restriction criteria. A cyber security team will have before they implement this filtering, a few parameters like device types, geolocations, etc to add to the filter — all IP addresses that have any of those filters in the digital makeup will be funneled to this blackhole and dripped off the site’s traffic.
Limiting the number of requiems a server can accept is a quick and dirty way of mitigating a DDoS attack. It gives you time to implement different tools and AI to stop the attack.
Web Application Firewall
WAF or Web Application Firewall is a tool that can mitigate layered attacks. It protects the targeted server from certain types of disruptive traffic.
A SOC Team or Security Operation Center Team offers specialized looks and trained professionals that are well experienced and up-to-date on all these types of attacks. Not only in DDoS attacks prevention, but also in phishing tactics, ransomware attacks, malware, and all others.
Today, an average cyber breach, and normal cyber-attack, can end up costing most businesses about $4 million according to the stats and the latest FBI report. Why so much? It’s not only the attack but how long your service is offline, how much you’re losing each day in sales, how much your reputation is being hurt and your stock price is taking a hit — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total price-tag of some of these attacks.