Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have become a reality of life for any business with an online presence. Whether you’re an enterprise, a startup, an e-commerce business, local organization, or government office – it’s just a matter of time before you have to handle the inevitable DDoS attack.
The question is what you can do before an attack to have adequate defenses already in place? Well, that is what we are going to discuss in this ultimate guide.
What is a DDoS Attack?
First of all, a DoS “Denial of Service” attack is any attack that stops legitimate users from accessing a service. This could be done in variety of ways depending on the kind of system and what types of DoS attacks it’s prone to. For instance, flooding an online server with a large quantity of fake traffic will stop it from responding to real users.
A Distributed Denial of Service Attack uses several computers around the web, usually under control of a botnet, to overwhelm the service. The resources of the system (bandwidth, CPU, RAM, etc) are consumed by this traffic, preventing users from accessing it.
Understanding the Different Types of DDoS Attacks:
There are many different types of DDoS attacks, which can be classified according to the kind and volume of traffic they leverage and also the vulnerability they exploit.
1. Volumetric attacks
The most common kind of DDoS attack, a Volumetric attack depends on a botnet to send large amounts of traffic to a target website. as the target’s bandwidth is flooded, network operations grind to a crawl or are taken offline entirely. Some examples of Volumetric attacks are UDP Flood, ICMP Flood, TCP Flood, and DNS Amplification among several others.
2. Protocol attacks
This type of attack focuses on exploiting server resources by taking advantage of a vulnerability within the Layer three and Layer four protocol stack. Syn Flood and the notorious Ping of Death each fall into this category.
3. Application layer attacks
Perhaps because of their technical complexions, application layer attacks are the least common form of DDoS attack, however they’re also the most tough to handle. this sort of attack consumes server resources by targeting internet application packets and disrupting data transmission.
Why would someone want to carry out a DDoS Attack?
DDoS attacks are quickly changing into the most prevalent kind of cyber threat, growing quickly in the past year in each volume and range according to a recent research. The trend now is towards shorter attack period, however larger packet-per-second attack volume.
Attackers are primarily motivated by:
- Business feuds – Businesses can use DDoS attacks to strategically take down rival websites, e.g., to keep them from taking part in a very important event, like Cyber Monday.
- Ideology – so called “hacktivists” use DDoS attacks as a way of targeting websites they disagree with ideologically.
- Boredom – Cyber vandals, a.k.a., “script-kiddies” use pre-written scripts to launch DDoS attacks. The perpetrators of those attacks are usually bored, would-be hackers trying to find an adrenaline rush.
- Extortion – Perpetrators use DDoS attacks, or the threat of DDoS attacks as a way of extorting cash from their targets.
- Cyber warfare – Government approved DDoS attacks can be used to both cripple opposition websites and an enemy country’s infrastructure.
How to Prevent a DDoS Attack?
As it stands, it’s impossible to protect yourself fully from DDoS attacks. However, being proactive and following best IT security practices can assist you to reduce the chances of turning into a victim.
1Identify a DDoS Attack Early
If you run your own servers, then you need to be ready to identify once you are under attack. that is because the earlier you can establish that issues with your website are because of a DDoS attack, the earlier you’ll be able to begin to do something regarding it.
To be in a position to do this, it is a sensible plan to familiarize yourself with your typical incoming traffic profile; the more you recognize about what your traditional traffic looks like, the simpler it is to identify when its profile changes. Most DDoS attacks begin as sharp spikes in traffic, and it’s useful to be able to tell the difference between a unexpected surge of legitimate visitors and the start of a DDoS attack.
It’s also a good plan to nominate a DDoS leader in your company who is accountable for acting when you come under attack.
2Invest in extra bandwidth
It usually is smart to have additional bandwidth available to your web server than you ever think you’re likely to need. That way, you’ll be able to accommodate unexpected and sudden surges in traffic that might be a result of an advertising campaign, a special offer or even a mention of your company in the media.
Even if you over provision by 100% — or 500% – that probably will not stop a DDoS attack. however it should provide you with a number of additional minutes to act before your resources are flooded.
3Defend at Network Perimeter (if You are Running Your Own Web Server)
There are some security measures that can be taken to partially mitigate the impact of an attack — particularly within the initial minutes — and a few of those are quite easy. for example, you can:
- rate limit your router to stop your web server being flooded
- add filters to inform your router to drop packets from obvious sources of attack
- drop spoofed or malformed packages
- timeout half-open connections more aggressively
- set lower SYN, ICMP, and UDP flood drop thresholds
But the truth is that while these steps have been effective within the past, DDoS attacks are now typically too large for these measures to have any vital impact. Again, the most you’ll be able to hope for is that they’ll get you a little time as an attack ramps up.
4Regularly update your software
Keeping your company’s software up to date is a essential part of combating DDoS attacks and other cyber attacks. Security vulnerabilities, like the one found in WordPress version 3.5-3.9, can make your organization more vulnerable to DDoS attacks. The longer you go without updating, the bigger the risk becomes.
5Talk to Your ISP or Hosting Provider
The next step is to call your ISP (or hosting provider if you do not host your own web server), tell them you’re under attack and ask for assistance. Keep emergency contacts for your ISP or hosting provider readily accessible, therefore you can do that quickly. looking on the strength of the attack, the ISP or hoster may already have detected it, or they will themselves begin to be flooded by the attack.
You stand a far better chance of withstanding a DDoS attack if your web server is located in a hosting center than if you run it yourself. that is because its data center will have seemingly have so much higher information measure links and better capability routers than your company has itself, and its workers can in all probability have more expertise handling attacks. Having your web server located with a hoster will also keep DDoS traffic aimed toward your web server off your company LAN, therefore at least that part of your business — including email and possibly voice over IP services — should operate usually during an attack.
If an attack is giant enough, the primary thing a hosting company or ISP is probably going to try and do is “null route” your traffic — which ends in packets destined for your web server being dropped before they arrive.
6Call a DDoS Specialist
For terribly massive attacks, it’s possible that your best chance of staying online is to use a specialist DDoS mitigation company. These organizations have massive scale infrastructure and use a range of technologies, together with data scrubbing, to help you keep your website online.
With DDoS attacks continuing to become more harmful and accessible, it’s very important that corporations big and small have a decent understanding of how the attacks work and what they can do to reduce the chance of turning into a victim.
Have you ever faced a DDoS attack or a similar Cyberattack? or do you have any tips on how to prevent a DDoS attack then let us know in the comments below!
Have a good (malware-free) day!