Posted on February 18, 2020 at 8:57 PM
Distributed Denial Service attack is seen as one of the worst forms of cyber-attacks, as it can take several forms and can be highly devastating. This attack is highly flexible in terms of what it can destroy and how it targets your network.
That is why they are extremely dangerous and a threat to any network. The best way to combat this attack is to work with your ISP and IT to develop a multi-faceted solution that combines both proactive and reactive measures. These measures will help to prevent and mitigate an ongoing attack.
If you feel that it’s highly unlikely for a DDoS attack to infiltrate your network, you should probably be thinking of the devastating damage it would cause if you’re wrong. Anyone with a system and network to protect should understand the nature of DDoS attacks and find the best way to protect their systems against such attacks.
If you would like to know more about the preventative and mitigation measures against DDoS attacks, you’re welcome on board. But first, let’s find out about the nature of DDoS attack and its different types.
Nature of DDoS attack
The nature and size of any DDoS attack usually depend on the reason behind the attack. Sometimes, it could be a cyber activist looking to make a political statement or a rival that wants to destabilize a competitor.
Most times, the attack is usually a high-volume attack that involves lots of data. But sometimes, the cyber attackers could carry out a lower volume of attack to drain the resources of devices like servers, firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, or routers.
There are different types of DDoS attack vectors, which include DNS Amplification and TCP Flooding. Also, there are some other small volumes of attacks that completely focus on applications, which are usually called “layer 7 DDoS”. These types of attacks are not usually delivered from a multiple of devices but from a single device.
When the application attack connects to the TCP host, it carries out a series of requests which gradually deplete the available resources until they are completely exhausted. Once the application is depleted, it renders the application unable to respond to legitimate user requests.
This type of DDoS attack needs different detecting and mitigation methods, since they are usually hidden inside encrypted packets, do not take too much bandwidth, and appear legitimate.
Why you should bother about DDoS attacks
DDoS attacks usually result in a lot of loss to the affected organization. It leads to loss of revenue and costly downtime. In the long term, it can result in reputational damage to an organization, especially if they mostly depend on the internet to carry out their business. That’s the reason why you should do everything to make sure your system and network are completely secure from DDoS. Even if the attackers succeed in infiltrating your system, you should have enough measures that can effectively mitigate the attack to prevent substantial damage.
Preparing for DDoS attack
Even when you have the most secure system in the world, your system may not be completely immune to DDoS attacks. Yes, it’s good to have a preventative mechanism in place, but it’s also important to prepare for a quick mitigation response when there is an attack. Your speedy response to the attack could save a whole lot of data and information for you.
In the past, DDoS attacks are usually the headache of big corporations. But they now attack even small organizations and businesses. As long as your business uses the internet, it could be prone to attack. That is why there is a need to have a multiple-layered security mechanism that can offer complete protection for sensitive workloads.
Although DDoS attackers would not stop developing their threat landscape, security experts are also on their toes to keep developing countermeasures. There are some good DDoS-based security solutions you can use to enhance the security level of your systems. And don’t forget to have multiple layers of security, which would give the attacker a hard time to completely bypass the security protocols.
Types of DDoS attacks
There are different types of DDoS attacks. Having an idea of their different types and forms can help you better prepare for such attacks.
Protocol attacks focus on the damage of connection tables responsible for verifying connections in network areas. Here, the attackers deliberately send partial packets, mal-informed pings, and slow pings to the target system, which causes memory buffers.
Over time, it can lead to system overload and eventual crash. Some protocol attacks can even target firewalls and render them defenseless. That’s the reason why firewalls alone are not enough to fight off DDoS attacks.
These are more difficult to detect and mitigate because they typically use a single machine or a smaller number of machines for their attack. They are usually sent to the top layer of the OSI network and have a wide range of potential venues including SMTP, DNS, HTTPS, and HTTP.
Most times the perpetrators of this type of attack trick the server to treat the attack as just a high volume of legitimate traffic. But in the real sense, the enormous traffic is sent to disrupt or overwork the network server so that it won’t have enough time to attend to legitimate requests.
This is the most common DDoS attack, as it overwhelms a system’s network bandwidth. It floods the network with bogus data requests on all the available open ports of the system. The overwhelming amount of data coming to the network will keep the system very busy to attend to the entire request. This gives the system no chance to attend to other genuine requests. In a volumetric attack, genuine requests usually get rejected by the system because it is busy dealing with voluminous amounts of fake requests.
Sometimes, hackers use a combination of three of these attack methods on their targets on multiple fronts. When they do this, it overwhelms the target system entirely, leaving the systems completely vulnerable until a more severe countermeasure can be introduced.
How To Stay Protected From DDoS Attacks
Okay, now that you know the damaging effects of DDoS attacks and their different forms, what are the different ways to get protection against such attacks? There are several proven techniques and methods you can use to prevent or mitigate DDoS attacks, which we will explain in detail below.
Maintaining strong network architecture
It’s always important to concentrate on secure network architecture. When there is a capable network infrastructure, the systems will not cripple too much when the network is attacked. One of the best ways to ensure a stronger network infrastructure is to locate servers in different geographical places. This way, it would be more difficult for hackers to get hold of the entire network. If one network is attacked, other networks can take the extra network traffic while you try to patch up the attacked network.
Developing a DDoS Response plan
If you are truly going to stop DDoS attack and stay protected, you need to have a response plan you can bring into action whenever there is any hindsight on an imminent attack. The response plan has to be foolproof because you may not have enough time to think about the best mitigation approach when DDoS eventually hits.
This is an obvious step that is applicable in all forms of cyberattacks, not only DDoS attacks. A response plan for DDoS attacks is not only applicable to large-scale companies as a lot of people might think. Even small and medium-scale establishments should have a response plan to counter or mitigate the attack when it eventually hits the network or servers.
When the response plan is set, make sure your team and other members of the unit are aware of the mitigation plan, so that anyone can bring it into action as soon as a threat is discovered.
Practice Basic Network Security
Simple network security measures are not too difficult to implement. Although they are very basic methods and may not be able to prevent DDoS attacks as much as the more complicated methods, they can still repel some attacks.
Actually, the basic network security will help the organization reduce user errors, which usually serve as an invitation to DDoS attacks. Use the common practice to secure passwords, and make sure you change them regularly. Other basic practices include securing firewalls and anti-phishing. These methods would help your organization built a more sophisticated counter-threat measure for DDoS attack
Securing network infrastructure
One of the most effective DDoS protections is by securing network infrastructure. The security should involve a multi-layer protection strategy that will make it extremely difficult for attackers to penetrate.
These include threat management systems and advanced intrusion prevention, which combine load balancing, content filtering, anti-spam, VPN, and firewalls against the attack. One of the threat management systems may not be enough DDoS. Remember that some of these DDoS attacks are a combination of different threat forms. This makes it very difficult to defeat a single threat management system. Multiple layers of these systems will offer more robust protection.
If you are concerned about the cost of having multiple layers of security, you should understand that losing your data having serious downtimes could cost you far more than the cost of getting this protection. You can also get protection resources and advanced mitigation from cloud-based services, where you can use their pay-per-use service.
Leveraging the Cloud
Cloud-based service providers have their own benefits when it comes to DDoS Protections. The functionality of the cloud-based services makes them more advantageous when outsourcing your DDoS prevention. Generally, they are more likely going to absorb the attack before it reaches the attack destination.
This makes it easier to spot a DDoS attack before it causes any damage to your system. Another benefit of using a cloud-based system is because of the bigger resources and bandwidth has over a private network. This makes them more equipped and stronger to handle DDoS better than your small or medium scale business could handle.
These are some of the important ways you can give your system’s protection against DDoS attacks.
The DDoS attack is real, as it has caused a lot of damages to systems and networks over the years. As cybercriminals find out new methods of incapacitating networks through DDoS attacks, it’s important to be regularly informed and updated on the best countermeasures against such attacks. With the right threat management system, you should be able to keep your networks and servers protected against any form of DDoS attack.