Monday, May 27, 2024

Beginner’s Guide to Understanding DDoS Attacks


As the world is modernising, it has become more safer, more transparent and accessing files have been more easier by changing data storage methodologies and moving to cloud storage. Since data and information are in cloud, it has become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and deadly viruses that can wipe out your servers and lead to a permanent loss of data.

Regular occurrence of these types of cyber-attacks will cost you or your company a lot. So companies have opted for DDoS protection enabled servers to protect their data from virtual attacks. With both internet and hackers evolving, it has become crucial now more than ever to employ remedies to stop those kind of attack.

What is a DDoS attack?

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. This type of attack takes advantage of the specific capacity limits that apply to any network resources – such as the infrastructure that enables a company’s website. The DDoS attack will send multiple requests to the attacked web resource – with the aim of exceeding the website’s capacity to handle multiple requests… and prevent the website from functioning correctly.

Motivations for carrying out a DDoS vary widely, as do the types of individuals and organizations eager to perpetrate this form of cyberattack. Some attacks are carried out by disgruntled individuals and hacktivists wanting to take down a company’s servers simply to make a statement, have fun by exploiting cyber weakness, or express disapproval. Other distributed denial-of-service attacks are financially motivated, such as a competitor disrupting or shutting down another business’s online operations to steal business away in the meantime.

This denial of services from your device could be in the form of –

•   Hacking webcams and other video peripherals.

•   Hijacking ports and other wireless authentication connections.

•   Restricting or blocking the use of the internet by any kind.

•   Overloading ports to make them unusable.

Methods of DDoS attacks

The different types of DDoS attacks can be as following:

Volume Based Attacks

Every company is aware of the average visits their website receives, and they have servers capable of dealing with a certain amount of traffic. So, exhausting your bandwidth is not a difficult task, and with millions of requests directed to your server at the same time, your server will be down within no time. Using ‘botnet” i.e a collection of interconnected devices, thousands of infected devices with malware will start hitting your page, bringing it down in a matter of minutes.

Application Layer Attacks 

Includes low-and-slow attacks, GET/POST floods, attacks that target Apache, Windows or OpenBSD vulnerabilities and more. Comprised of seemingly legitimate and innocent requests, the goal of these attacks is to crash the web server, and the magnitude is measured in Requests per second (Rps).

Protocol Attacks

Protocol attacks are designed to eat up the processing capacity of network infrastructure resources like servers, firewalls, and load balancers by targeting Layer 3 and Layer 4 protocol communications with malicious connection requests.

DDoS Protection Techniques

DDoS attack is harmful and unwanted, so protective measures should be used to stop these kind of attack. By nature, DDoS attacks due to its different nature are challenging to handle and bring under control. By utilizing specially designed network equipment or a cloud-based protection service, a targeted victim is able to mitigate the incoming threat. Let us take a closer look at different approaches to mitigating DDoS attacks.

1. Look Out for the Warning Signs

If your security team can quickly identify the traits of a DDoS attack, you can take timely action and mitigate the damage.

Common signs of a DDoS are:

  • Poor connectivity.
  • Slow performance.
  • High demand for a single page or endpoint.
  • Crashes.
  • Unusual traffic coming from a single or a small group of IP addresses.
  • A spike in traffic from users with a common profile (system model, geolocation, web browser version, etc.)
2. Redirection of bad traffic. 

Redirection of bad traffic away from your server is crucial. More significant the quantity of bad traffic, higher are the chances that the server will crash. Redirection is the step where your mitigation plan comes into effect. The strength of your servers and operation centre is tested in sending the bad traffic away and protect the system from any threat. Failure to do so can cause the system as well as the operation centre for your servers to crash down. In case of the service fails, deep packet inspection service come in handy in differentiating the good from the bad.

3. Continuous Monitoring of Network Traffic

Using continuous monitoring (CM) to analyze traffic in real-time is an excellent method of detecting traces of DDoS activity. The benefits of CM are:

  • Real-time monitoring ensures you detect a DDoS attempt before the attack takes full swing.
  • The team can establish a strong sense of typical network activity and traffic patterns. Once you know how everyday operations look, the team easier identifies odd activities.
  • Around-the-clock monitoring ensures the detection of signs of an attack that happens outside of office hours and on weekends.
4. Make full use of your resources. 

Protection for your servers and operation centres is vital, and various services come with different features that may suit different requirements. DDoS protection can work according to the user’s commands and can be toggled on/off. However, choosing the right kind of protection is vital. It might be based on the type of business and the hardware being used. The DDoS protection provider should fully maintain cloud services and provide an extra level of care, and issue alerts in case of a DDoS attack.

Do not overlook the DDoS threat ! DDoS threats are not only becoming more dangerous, but attacks are also increasing in number. Experts predict the average number of annual DDoS attempts will rise to 15.4 million by 2023. That number indicates that nearly every business will face a DDoS at some point, so preparing for this attack type should be at the top of your security to-do list.

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