Attackers generally use a DDoS attack for flooding a server or network with fake traffic. Too much traffic will overload your resources. Due to this, your system can’t process genuine requests. Services will become unavailable after a DDoS attack. You might need to deal with a prolonged downtime due to a DDoS attack. This will result in lost revenue and dissatisfied customers. In this article, we are going to share some tips that will help you in preventing DDoS attacks. These practices will help you in minimizing the impact of a DDoS attack.
What is a DDoS attack?
A Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS is a cyberattack whose main aim is to crash a service, server, or network. In this, the attacker will flood the network with fake traffic. The sudden spike in packets, connection requests, or messages will overwhelm your infrastructure. Due to this, your system will crash or slow down.
Some attackers are using DDoS attacks for blackmailing a business into paying a ransom. This is similar to how attackers ask for ransom in ransomware attacks.
The main motivation behind DDoS attacks is to inflict brand damage. Attackers want to disrupt your communications or services. Your competitors will have an advantage if your website is down. It is also used to distract your IT security team.
DDoS attacks are dangerous for every type of business. The main problem with DDoS attacks is that they are easy to execute. If an attacker has access to a botnet, then they can easily crash SMBs network.
DDoS attackers will often target IT service providers, online retailers, and fintech companies. They also use DDoS attacks for attacking government entities.
Attackers will generally use a botnet to execute this attack. A botnet is a collection of malware-infected computers, IoT gadgets, and mobile devices. Attackers have full access to these devices. They can use these zombie devices for flooding your network with the request. If they can send enough requests to your network, According to a report from Radware, the average DDoS attack can keep 33% of services down for an hour at least.
A DDoS attack won’t result in data leakage or breach. However, attackers will generally club different attacks to increase their success rate. They might launch a DDoS attack to distract your Incident response team. Thus, they will get more time to steal your data. You also need to spend money and time to get your services back online. Reputational harm, frustrated users, and loss of business are the main aim of DDoS attacks. If you want to prevent all this, then you should focus on improving your network security.
Types of DDoS attacks
DDoS attacks can overwhelm your system with too much activity. However, hackers can use different strategies for launching a DDoS attack. The three main types of DDoS attacks are:
In this, the attacker will target a specific app. They won’t go for your entire network. The attacker will generate a huge number of requests and send them to one application. Due to this, your server will go down.
It is difficult to deal with this type of DDoS attack as it is difficult to differentiate between malicious HTTP requests and legit HTTP requests. These attacks will use fewer resources as attackers are only targeting one application.
Volumetric attacks will target all the available bandwidth. They will send false data requests to your network. This will create network congestion. The attacker’s main aim is to stop legit users from accessing your services.
There are various methods that attackers can use for launching this attack. However, all these methods will rely on botnets. Attackers will have access to a huge collection of malware-infected devices. This is the most common type of DDoS attack.
Protocol attacks will exploit weaknesses in the procedures or protocols that govern communications. The main aim of this attack is to slow down your network. Attackers can exploit the TCP handshake for slowing down your network. In this, they will send fake TCP requests to your network. They can also send fake ICMP ping messages to your network. These attacks can easily bypass your firewall if it is not configured properly.
How to Prevent DDoS Attacks?
Start with a DDoS Response plan
You should first create an Incident response plan. This will ensure that your staff members can respond to a DDoS attack. Your plan should have clear instructions on how to deal with DDoS attacks.
You should also figure out how to achieve business continuity. This is very important as your business can’t go down. If your business is down, then you will lose a lot of revenue. The key stakeholders and important staff members should be mentioned in this plan. Their roles and responsibility should be clear.
You also need to define the escalation protocols. Make sure that you are properly mentioning all the team responsibilities. Create a checklist of all the necessary tools. Also, you should have a list of important systems. This will ensure that you can focus on recovering your important data and systems first.
The ability to react to security events is very important for business continuity. You should also have a disaster recovery plan for recovering your business from attacks.
Improve your network security
Network security is very important for stopping DDoS attacks. The DDoS attack will only have an impact if attackers can send enough requests. You should focus on improving your ability to identify a DDoS attack. This will help you in controlling the impact of a DDoS attack.
There are various types of network security that can help you in dealing with DDoS attacks. Some of the most important network security practices are:
- Intrusion detection systems and Firewalls will help you in scanning your network. This will ensure that your network is safe from attackers.
- Anti-malware and anti-virus software will help you in detecting and removing malware from your system.
- Web security tools will help you in removing web-based threats. They are very useful in blocking abnormal traffic and searching for known attack signatures.
- Network segmentation will help you in separating systems into subnets. This will ensure that you can stop the attack surface of the attacker. You can use unique security protocols and controls for protecting your important network devices.
- You should also use tools that help in preventing spoofing by checking the traffic source.
The only way to protect your network from DDoS attacks is by employing a high level of network security. Securing networking devices will help you in enabling you to prepare your hardware for a DDoS attack.
You should also perform a vulnerability assessment scan for identifying weaknesses in your network. This will ensure that you can stop the attacker before they find a vulnerability in your network.
If you are using multiple distributed servers, then attackers will find it difficult to attack your servers. They can’t target all your servers at the same time. Attackers can launch a DDoS attack on one of your servers. However, other serves will remain unaffected. This will give you extra time to protect your servers.
You should host your servers at colocation facilities and data centers in different regions. This will ensure that your network doesn’t have a single point of failure. Many organizations are also using CDN or a content delivery network for solving this problem. The DDoS attack mainly focuses on overloading your server. A CDN will help you in sharing the load equally across your servers.
You can also use cloud servers for dealing with DDoS attacks. Your main aim is to distribute your load among different servers. Load balancers can help you in achieving this.
Look for warning signs
If you can quickly identify the signs of a DDoS attack, then your IT team can mitigate the damage. DDoS attacks will slow down your network. Thus, you need to deal with slow performance and poor connectivity. If there is high demand for a single endpoint or page, then someone is attacking your network.
Some of your systems will also crash due to the DDoS attack. If unusual traffic is coming from some IP or from a group of computers, then someone is attacking your network. These are the common warning signs that you should look for.
Every DDoS attack won’t come with high traffic. Attackers can also launch a low-volume attack. These attacks are hard to detect as they happen for a short duration. Thus, you might consider them as a random event. These attacks might be a test for a dangerous attack like a ransomware attack. Thus, you should also focus on detecting a low-volume DDoS attack.
You should organize a security awareness training program for your employees. Make sure that your entire team can look for signs of a DDoS attack. This will ensure that you don’t need to wait for some IT security team member to look for warning signs.
Use Cloud Technologies
You need on-prem software and hardware for preventing DDoS attacks. However, cloud-based mitigation can also help you. Cloud-based protection is scalable and it can help you in handling even large DDoS attacks.
You can outsource your DDoS protection to a third-party cloud provider. This will ensure that you don’t need to worry about handling DDoS attacks. Cloud providers will provide well-rounded cybersecurity. They will use the best threat monitoring software and firewall for protecting your network.
The public cloud has greater bandwidth. Thus, it is very hard to take it down. Data centers will be equipped with high network redundancy. There are two types of DDoS protection that cloud providers provide:
- Always-on cloud protection: If you are using this, then all your traffic will go through a cloud scrubbing center. You need to lose some latency for this. This option is perfect for companies that have mission-critical applications. It will help you in avoiding downtime.
- On-demand cloud mitigation: These services will get activated after your in-house team detects a threat. If you are suffering from a DDoS attack, then your cloud provider will divert all the traffic to their cloud services. This will ensure that your services are always up.
If your IT security team has enough expertise, then you don’t need to rely on your cloud provider only. You can go for a multi-cloud or hybrid environment. This will help you in organizing your traffic. Your team can help you in distributing your traffic between different servers.
Monitor your network traffic
Continuous monitoring will help you in analyzing traffic in real-time. This is a good method of detecting DDoS activity. The main benefits of Continuous monitoring are:
- It will help you in establishing a strong sense of traffic patterns and network activity. If you know your daily normal operations, then you can easily detect DDoS attacks.
- 24*7 network monitoring will ensure that you can detect the signs of a DDoS attack.
- Real-time network monitoring will help you in detecting a DDoS attempt. This will ensure that you can quickly stop the attack.
Limit Network Broadcasting
An attacker will send requests to all the devices present in your network. If you want to deal with this attack, then you should limit the network broadcasting. Limiting network broadcasting is an excellent way to disrupt a DDoS attempt.
DDoS attacks are becoming more dangerous with time. It is important to ensure that you can deal with time. According to experts, the number of DDoS attempts will increase to 16 million by 2022. This number simply indicates that almost every business will face a DDoS attack. Thus, you should start working on improving your DDoS detection capabilities. You should also ensure that you can properly deal with these attacks.
The best way to deal with cyber attacks is by working with a good MSP. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in dealing with attacks like DDoS attacks and Social engineering attacks. They will help you in improving your network security. Thus, you will be ready to deal with DDoS attacks. If you need more information regarding IT security services, then you can contact Bleuwire.