DDoS Attacks – What Are They & How Can You Prevent/Respond?
The past couple of years were heavily marked by cyber security events. One of the types of events that have recently been on the rise is something that you may have heard of but not experienced firsthand. When you do eventually have exposure to this type of attack, you will want to know what to do in response and how to prevent further incidents from happening again. In a past blog, we discussed the basics of a DDoS attack and would like to go a bit further to update our readers on the way a DDoS Attack works, what the motivations of these attacks include, prevention strategies, as well as response practices that can help your business in the event that this does occur.
What Is A DDoS Attack?
DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and these occurrences have been spiking since 2020 when there was a quick rise in the number of these attacks. In short, a DDoS Attack is a cyberattack that aims to crash a network, service, or server by flooding the system with fake traffic. The sudden spike in messages, connection requests, or packets overwhelms the target's infrastructure and causes the system to slow down or crash.The overloading of requests can also mean that a business cannot respond to legitimate requests for a service in a timely manner. Both scenarios are highly consequential for a business. According to a report from NETSCOUT, more than 10 million DDoS attacks were launched last year, targeting many of the remote and essential services people were using to make it through the lockdown. Healthcare, remote learning, e-commerce, and streaming services were all hit hard by DDoS attacks, which often interrupted business operations or caused some businesses to fall victim to extortion by the criminal behind the attack.
How A DDoS Attack Works
According to the Center for Strategic & International Studies DDoS Attacks have been noted around the globe. For instance, in August 2022, hackers used a DDoS attack to temporarily take down the website of Taiwan’s Presidential Office. The Taiwanese government attributed the attack to foreign hackers and stated normal operations of the website resumed after 20 minutes. Another incident in the same timeframe targeted the Finnish Parliament with a DDoS attack that rendered the Parliamentary website inaccessible. A Russian group claimed responsibility for the attack on Telegram. And yet another during this time was noted when a DDoS campaign targeted the websites of both government and private Estonian institutions. Estonia stated that the attack was largely repelled, and the impact was limited. Typically what happens in this instance is a botnet of hundreds or thousands of malware-infected devices sends fake traffic to an IP address. According to a Radware report, the average length of a DDoS attack is displayed as follows:
33% keep services unavailable for an hour.
60% last less than a full day.
15% last for a month.
What Are The Types of DDoS Attacks?
There are three main types of DDoS Attacks to be aware of within your company: volumetric, protocol, and application attacks. Volumetric DDoS attacks tend to be the most common type of DDoS attack. This type floods a machine’s or a network’s bandwidth with false data requests on every available port. This overwhelms the network, leaving it unable to accept its regular traffic.A protocol attack exploits weaknesses in the protocols or procedures that govern internet communications. The goal is to slow things down or attempt to crash the system entirely. The two most common types of protocol-based DDoS attacks are SYN Floods and Smurf DDoS. An application attack targets weaknesses in an application. These attacks focus primarily on direct web traffic and can be hard to catch, because a machine may think it’s dealing with nothing more than a particularly high level of Internet traffic.
DDoS Prevention Techniques
As with many other cyber attacks, the best way to prevent a DDoS Attack is to be proactive in your prevention techniques. Here are a few quick ways that you should prepare with your employees and IT department or Managed IT company.
Know your typical network traffic patterns. The more you know, the easier it will be to spot when something is off.
Create a Denial of Service Response Plan including a notification system, checklists, and procedures to keep you on track.
Be aware and train your staff on the warning signs of increased traffic. Set up continuous monitoring.
Improve your network security and engage in best security practices.
Consider moving to the cloud to mitigate attacks.
Create a response plan in the event this does happen at your workplace.
DDoS Response Techniques
Once an attack begins you will have no time to react. You will need to immediately set some things into motion. For instance, if you are outsourcing your reaction, make the calls and waste no time. According to eSecurity Planet, some of the best practices for response techniques include:
Rate Limiting: Block users that exceed a threshold for requests.
Source Blocking: Block IP addresses known to be attacked.
Traffic Rerouting: Move the application or device to a new IP and reroute legitimate traffic.
Packet Filtering: Add additional resources or tools to inspect and clean traffic.
As we say often, in order to mitigate a DDoS Attack, it is imperative to identify the problem as soon as possible. As with many cyber security issues, the sooner you identify the problem the faster you can mitigate the issue. For more information on DDoS Attacks please visit our site and read our blog often as we will be keeping our readers updated on new information and prevention and response techniques.