Easy to launch and often devastatingly effective, a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is one of the most common threats in today’s cybersecurity landscape.
In simple terms, a DDoS attack seeks to disrupt a target’s connectivity or user services by flooding its network with an overwhelming volume of fraudulent traffic, typically through a botnet.
The motivation for the attack can range from political protests, cyberwarfare, illicit competitive advantage, or extortion to breach the victim’s security as cover for data theft.
In some cases, ransomware gangs even launch DDoS attacks against their victims to increase the pressure for payment. Knowing how to stop a DDoS attack is a critical priority for cybersecurity professionals.
A DDoS attack disrupts a target’s connectivity by flooding its network with massive amounts of fraudulent traffic, primarily through a botnet The damage from a DDoS attack can be devastating.
In a recent survey, 98% of respondents reported costs of more than $100,000 for every hour of downtime, while more than a third estimated costs exceeding $1 million.
The average DDoS attack causes $218,000 in direct damage, in addition to any extortion, data theft, business interruption, or damage to the victim’s reputation and business and customer relationships.
The famous DDoS attacks in recent years, including multi-terabit attacks on Google, AWS and GitHub, show the potential scale of the threat.
Without an effective DDoS attack prevention strategy, complemented with DDoS protection solutions and threat intelligence, organizations are at significant risk.
How to Stop a DDoS Attack:
5 Best Practices for DDoS Attack Prevention To reduce the risk of a devastating denial-of-service attack, organizations need to leverage comprehensive measures including baselining and monitoring network traffic, DDoS attack planning, DDoS attack mitigation measures, and deploying DDoS protection and threat intelligence tools. The following best practices can form the basis of an effective DDoS attack prevention strategy.
- Know what to watch for – and keep an eye on To detect a DDoS attack in progress before it’s too late, you need to know what normal network traffic looks like.
By creating a baseline of your normal traffic pattern, you can more easily identify the symptoms of a DDoS attack, such as inexplicably slow network performance, spotty connectivity, intermittent web failures, unusual traffic sources, or a spam wave.
Vigilant monitoring is critical, including both network and application traffic; even a small anomaly can signal a test by cybercriminals before a larger attack.
The sooner you detect an event in progress, the more quickly and effectively you can put DDoS attack mitigation plans into action.
At the same time, it is critical to minimize false positives in order to avoid unnecessary operational disruptions.
- Make a Denial of Service Response Plan – Once you have determined that a likely DDoS attack is underway, your organization needs to be able to respond quickly and efficiently.
Detailed planning will avoid the need to improvise under pressure. Your plan should include:
- A checklist of systems, assets, and advanced threat detection tools
- A defined response team with DDoS attack mitigation skills
- Procedures for maintaining business operations during the attack
- Protocols for incident notification and escalation
- A communication plan covering both employees and external stakeholders, such as customers and partners, and the media
3. Ensure a resilient infrastructure – Given the high probability of a DDoS attack attempt, you must take steps to minimize the impact of a successful denial of service.
Designing your network and systems to accommodate excess traffic – 2 to 5 times of your anticipated basic needs – can help you absorb an attack long enough to mount a response.
Resource distribution can limit the scope of an attack, for example by placing servers in different data centers, and placing data centers on different networks and in different physical locations.
Redundant devices and high availability architecture can speed up system restoration after a DDoS attack (note that they should be launched only after an attack has concluded to avoid exposing them to an ongoing attack).
Avoid or harden bottlenecks and single points of failure that can be especially vulnerable to a flood of traffic.
- Refuge in the Cloud – The cloud offers some possibilities for reducing the risk of a DDoS attack. Migrating assets to the cloud is one approach; cloud providers have much more bandwidth than the typical enterprise, and the distributed nature of the cloud can help resiliency.
If one server is blocked by a DDoS attack, others will continue to operate; similarly, secure data backups in the cloud can help with rapid recovery in the event of system corruption.
On the other hand, multi-tenant cloud environments can bring their own risks. A cloud, hosting or colocation provider that detects a DDoS attack on one customer may shut down all its traffic in order to avoid spillover impacts on other customers, leaving the company unable to make a more accurate response to preserve some services. Similarly, an attack on another cloud service provider customer can impact your enterprise, even if you are not the original target. From this perspective, it is important to work with cloud, hosting and colocation providers who offer DDoS protection as a service to their customers. customers.
- Deploy DDoS Protection and Threat Intelligenc Solutions – Preventing DDoS attacks depends on a multi-layered strategy of best practices, tools, and threat intelligence. Your anti-DDoS solution should include traffic monitoring capabilities, real-time threat detection, anomalous behavior blocking, zero-day attack pattern recognition, DDoS cleanup, and automated response.
Threat intelligence is essential to enrich your DDoS tools with timely data on current DDoS activities and trends, including the IP addresses of DDoS botnets and vulnerable servers known to be associated with DDoS attacks.
Leveraged in conjunction with real-time threat detection, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) capabilities, and automated signature extraction, threat intelligence enables organizations to take a proactive approach to DDoS attack mitigation.
*Ivan Marzariolli é country manager da A10 Networks *** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI team ***