Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a small business retailer, cybercrime is a genuine threat to your business, revenue, and brand. In the first half of 2022, the CDNetworks’ security platform monitored and blocked an average of 429,000 network-layer DDoS attacks per day, a substantial increase of 161.02% over the same period last year. Implementing effective DDoS protection is key to ensuring your web property is secure and that you’re ready to fight off any attacks.
Why are DDoS Attacks Dangerous?
Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks are one of the most serious threats that businesses and organizations face on the internet.
DDoS attacks are conducted by hackers who overwhelm a network with more traffic than it can handle, resulting in the network becoming unavailable to its legitimate users.
These types of DDoS attack can be incredibly damaging to businesses and can result in lost revenue and customer trust.
Additionally, they can also provide cover for other malicious activities, such as data exfiltration or malware installation. For these reasons, companies must have measures in place to protect against DDoS attacks and understand the risks that they present. It’s also essential that administrators remain vigilant and regularly monitor their networks for signs of an attack so they can take action as soon as possible.
The Cost of DDoS Attacks
DDoS attacks, and the motivations behind them, have evolved since the attacks of the 90s. Today, they are fiercer, easier to launch, and are often politically based. Each and every day, there are orchestrated cyber invasions carried out not only on big target corporations, but on small and medium-sized businesses as well. Few are sufficiently prepared to fend them off, however.
The cost to businesses is spiraling, and estimated to be somewhere around $500 billion or more. Even then, experts say, most of the 50 million attacks each year go undetected. The cost of a cyber-attack for businesses is not only a loss of productivity, revenue, and business opportunities, but also damage to the company’s brand image. Operational costs skyrocket in many cases, as the businesses scramble to find and remedy their security vulnerabilities.
Identifying a DDoS Attack
Identifying a DDoS attack can be difficult, as the malicious traffic often appears no different to normal website visitor traffic. However, there are certain signs that can indicate that an attack is taking place. Unusually high levels of website traffic, particularly requests from a single IP address or multiple IP addresses in the same range, can be an indicator of an volumetric attack.
Additionally, slower performance for legitimate traffic and users as well as error messages being displayed when trying to access the site can also point to a DDoS attack.
Administrators should also monitor their network for any spikes in bandwidth usage and check their firewall logs for suspicious activity. By keeping a close eye on their networks and monitoring for any unusual behavior, administrators can quickly identify if they are being targeted by a DDoS attack and take action to mitigate it.
Ultimately, a DDoS attack can bring down an entire network and cost businesses time and money. By staying vigilant and monitoring for any suspicious activity or signs of a potential attack, administrators can take steps to protect their networks and prevent the damage that can be caused by a DDoS attack. Next up, we’ll explore the common signs of a DDoS attack so you know what to look out for.
In order to effectively identify and prevent a DDoS attack, it is important to have the right tools in place. Generally speaking, these tools can be divided into two distinct categories. First, there are passive tools which monitor the network for any suspicious activity and alert administrators when potential attacks are identified. These tools can provide detailed real-time analytics on traffic patterns and help administrators pinpoint exactly where an attack is coming from.
Second, there are active tools which can detect and block DDoS attacks before they cause significant damage to a website or network. These tools often use sophisticated systems to analyze network traffic and identify malicious requests before they reach their intended target. By employing both passive and active measures, administrators can ensure that their networks remain safe from the damaging effects of DDoS attacks.
Stopping a DDoS Attack
Once a DDoS attack has been identified, the next step is to begin taking measures to stop it. The most effective way to do this is by implementing a defense strategy that involves both proactive and reactive measures. Proactive measures focus on how to prevent DDoS attacks while reactive measures are used to mitigate the effects of an attack that has already occurred.
Proactive measures include rate limiting, blocking malicious IP addresses, setting up web application firewalls (WAF) and utilizing traffic scrubbing services. Rate limiting involves setting limits on the amount of requests a website can handle at one time and rejecting any requests that exceed those limits. Blocking malicious IP addresses can be done by monitoring incoming traffic for suspicious or malicious activity and then blacklisting these IPs. Setting up firewalls and utilizing traffic scrubbing services can help filter out malicious requests before they reach their destination.
Reactive measures involve responding quickly to an attack and restoring service as soon as possible. This often requires identifying the source of the attack and then taking steps to block it from reaching its destination server. Additionally, administrators may need to adjust rate limits or increase server capacity in order to better handle incoming requests during an attack.
Overall, by utilizing both proactive and reactive strategies, administrators can protect their websites from DDoS attacks and ensure uninterrupted service in the future.
Preventive Measures to Take Before an Attack Occurs
Taking preventive measures to protect against DDoS attacks is essential for any website or online service. These measures should involve both technical and non-technical best practices.
Technical measures involve setting up firewalls, monitoring traffic for suspicious activity, rate limiting requests, and utilizing traffic scrubbing services. Additionally, administrators should ensure that all software is up-to-date with the latest security patches and that any vulnerable systems are identified and addressed.
Non-technical best practices include taking steps to prevent sensitive information from being leaked or compromised. This can be done by implementing strong password policies, encrypting data in transit and at rest, and educating users on the importance of cybersecurity awareness. Additionally, having a backup plan in place in case of a successful attack can help minimize the effects of an attack and allow administrators to restore service quickly.
By implementing both technical and non-technical preventive measures for DDoS attacks as well as reactive strategies for when an attack does occur, administrators can significantly reduce their chances of becoming victim to a DDoS attack in the future.
Strategies for Responding to an Ongoing Attack
When a DDoS attack is underway, it can be difficult to know how best to respond. It is important for administrators to take DDoS mitigation steps to minimize the effects of the attack and restore services as quickly as possible. Common strategies for responding to an ongoing attack include implementing rate limiting, blocking malicious traffic, dropping certain packets or requests, utilizing cloud-based scrubbing services, and implementing additional security measures.
Additionally, administrators should work with their hosting provider or ISP to ensure they are properly protected against the attack. This can involve setting up a mitigation plan that includes specific steps to take when an attack occurs. Having this plan in place before an attack happens can help reduce downtime and minimize the damage caused by the attack.
Finally, administrators should create a post-attack report that outlines what measures were taken during the incident and any lessons learned from it. This report should be shared with all stakeholders so they have a better understanding of what happened and can take steps to prevent similar attacks in the future.
Recovering from a DDoS Attack
Once a DDoS attack has been successfully mitigated, organizations should take additional steps to ensure that they are protected against future attacks. This includes taking measures such as tightening security policies, implementing stronger authentication protocols, and improving network infrastructure. Additionally, it is important to review system logs and identify any anomalous activity that may have occurred during the attack.
Organizations should also consider creating a formal incident response plan and regularly testing it to ensure it meets their needs in the event of an attack. Furthermore, staff should be trained in recognizing signs of an impending attack and how to respond if one occurs. Finally, organizations should ensure they have adequate backup systems in place so they can quickly restore services if needed. By taking these measures, organizations can reduce the chances of being affected by future DDoS attacks.