Falling victim to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack can have severe consequences for a business. Those types of attacks are increasingly becoming a major threat to companies worldwide, as most global players have a good portion of their business online. Nowadays, DDoS attacks have become more and more frequent, while evolving in their complexity and threat level. In this article, you’ll learn how to stop DDoS attacks to protect your site and network.
Apart from significant financial losses, a DDoS attack can have a negative impact on our brand and reputation. As a result, we might even see a serious loss of customers. In order to prevent such a thing from happening, we need to be prepared to invest in DDoS attack prevention.
In this article, we will take a look at what a DDoS attack is and how it works. Also, we will define the key steps we should take to protect our website from it.
What Is a DDoS Attack?
A DDoS attack is the use of a bot or some other tool to generate an overwhelming amount of signals to a given server or network. As a result, the network is simply unable to process actual requests from real users or other networks. DDoS attacks are especially effective against websites since hackers can target specific parts of your network by overloading it with traffic.
There are several types of DDoS attacks out there. In order to better prepare against each one, we need to be familiar with how they work.
How Do DDoS Attacks Work?
Depending on the specific way in which they target our network, we can define three types of DDoS attacks.
Perhaps the most commonly encountered DDoS attack is the volumetric type. Here, the bot attempts to overload the server by sending an overwhelming number of false requests to every available port. There are two primary types of volumetric DDoS attacks — UDP floods and ICMP floods.
User Datagram Protocol (UDP) means a fast transmission of data without any integrity checks. This protocol provides quick transfer of data, which unfortunately makes it the perfect means to execute a DDoS attack.
On the other hand, the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) refers to the method of communication between different devices within a network. An ICMP DDoS attack attempts to overwhelm the network by sending a huge amount of false echo-requests. As a result, the target cannot take care of any actual requests, similarly to a UDP flood.
Protocol DDoS attacks target the parts of a network that verify connections. The network would receive a barrage of malformed or slow pings that will simply take up too much memory to process and verify. Because of that, the system will ultimately be unable to properly process any requests. Furthermore, Protocol DDoS attacks are often used against firewalls, by sending large amounts of irregular data.
Application-layer: Stop DDoS Attacks
The final type of DDoS attack has to do with targeting the applications we interact with. Application-layer attacks directly tamper with HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, or DNS protocols — all of which are responsible for web-based traffic. The main issue with this type of DDoS attack is that it is very hard to detect on time. Since the bot attacks the standard web protocols, it’s easy to mistake this attack for normal web traffic.
How to Prevent DDoS Attacks
Now that we have looked at what DDoS attacks are and what the most common types are, let’s see how we can protect our website from them. Below, you will find four methods that we know are extremely effective in preventing and dealing with DDoS attacks.
Create a DDoS Response Plan
Having a well-thought-out DDoS response plan is key to protecting our organization’s website and internal network. We need to carefully go over the different components of our system and assess their levels of security. Any vulnerabilities need to be addressed and kept in mind when we prepare our response plan.
Depending on the size and scope of our network, the DDoS response plan can be relatively simple or extremely complex. It is important to create a checklist of all internal systems which an attack could target. Also, we have to implement an effective notification system that will alert us if an issue arises.
Create a Response Team
Establishing a response team is key for preventing and dealing with DDoS attacks. For large organizations with multiple data centers, separate teams must be present at all locations. Also, team members need to have defined roles, along with an escalation chain, should the need arise.
Improve Network Infrastructure Security: Stop DDoS Attacks
If we want our networks to be secure, we must invest in multi-layered protection strategies. Components of a good network infrastructure include components such as:
- Anti-virus software
- Anti-malware software
- Network monitoring software
- External threat monitoring systems
Our systems must be constantly monitored by a variety of specialized software solutions. If all traffic is under constant scrutiny, DDoS attacks and similar threats can be detected and dealt with before any major damage is done.
Ensure Network Architecture Based on Redundancy
The architecture of a given network is one of the biggest factors that affect its vulnerability to DDoS attacks. Hence, we must make sure that we establish a system of redundant network resources. This means that if one server is overloaded, other servers are in place to handle the extra traffic that will come through.
Protection from DDoS Attacks Is Essential: Stop DDoS Attacks
DDoS attacks can cause major problems for our business — from financial losses and reputation damage to loss of customers. So, In order to avoid that, we need to take effective measures to prevent and counteract them. The above list of methods is a great starting point for both small and large organizations.