A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a non-intrusive internet attack designed to harm the targeted website. It is a malicious attempt to disrupt the regular traffic of a targeted server, service, application, or network by swamping the website or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of user traffic. In this attack, even a tiny amount of traffic is enough for the attack to succeed when the website is against a vulnerable resource-intensive endpoint.
DDoS attacks succeed by employing multiple compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic. These attacks are threats that website owners must acquaint themselves with as they are a critical piece of the security landscape.
Types of DoS Attacks
There are several overarching types of denial-of-service attacks:
- Volume-based attacks:
These attacks use extensive amounts of fake traffic to swamp an online resource, like a server or website. The volume of the attack is measured in bits per second.
- Protocol or network-layer attacks:
These attacks send enormous packets to network infrastructure and infrastructure management tools. Their size is measured in packets per second (PPS) and includes Smurf DDoS attacks (network-layer attacks designed to flood a targeted server with error messages) and SYN floods (which tie up networks with half-opened connection requests).
- Application-layer attacks:
These attacks are equivalent to volume-based attacks but are operated by flooding applications with malicious requests. Their size is calculated in requests per second (RPS).
How does a DDoS Attack Work?
The DDoS attack begins with testing the limits of the targeted website network by sending spikes of fake traffic. Hackers use a tool, like a botnet, that bombards the network with signals countless times, which ultimately drives the network to stop being able to process organic requests from users or other parts of the network.
When a DDoS attack is launched, the botnet attacks the target and depletes the application resources. These botnets generally consist of compromised IoT devices, websites, and computers. DDoS attacks are often used against large businesses or banks; they can also cause problems with a business reputation if users do not know why a website or service is down. Thus, learning to stop DDoS attacks is crucial for business continuance and smoother operations.
DoS Attack Prevention and Protection
Preventing a DDoS attack is possible with careful planning and security measures. DDoS attacks can happen to any website, even if your business is small or relatively unknown. There are several measures that you can use to protect your business from a DDoS attack. Organizations can take the following actions toward denial-of-service attack protection and prevention:
- Monitor and examine network traffic: Network can supervise traffic via a firewall or intrusion detection system. Managers should set up regulations that alert for unusual traffic, identify traffic sources or drop network packets that meet a specific criterion.
- Strengthen their security posture:
This process includes strengthening all internet-facing devices to prevent compromise, installing, and preserving antivirus software, establishing firewalls configured to protect against DoS attacks, and following strong security practices to monitor and control fake traffic.
- Allocate roles:
Having a clear response team in place for your data centers and your network administrator or IT teams is best. Make sure everyone is aware of their role and responsibility on how and when to escalate the situation in case of any external attack.
- Establish a DoS attack response plan:
The key is creating and practicing a disaster recovery plan for DoS attacks that covers communication, mitigation, and recovery.
- Keep everything up to date:
Organizational systems should be updated to ensure any bugs or issues are fixed. Detecting threats as early as possible is the best way to prevent a DDoS attack from taking down critical network infrastructures and affecting your end-users.
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