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DDoS Attacks: How to prevent them

As a business owner, it’s essential to keep up with the latest cyber threats and take steps to protect your business from them. One of the most dangerous and damaging threats that businesses may face is a DDoS or distributed denial-of-service attack.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a larger number of people conducting business online, which increased the potential attack surface for DDoS attacks. Even as the business world returns to a more normal state, DDoS attacks are becoming larger and more complex, making it essential for businesses to know how to identify, prevent, and mitigate them.

What is a DDoS attack?

A DDoS attack is a type of cyber-attack in which a malicious actor attempts to make a website or online service unavailable by flooding it with requests from multiple sources. These requests overwhelm the website’s servers, which can cause the site to crash or become inaccessible. This type of attack is designed to disrupt the normal functioning of a website or online service.

How do DDoS attacks work?

The goal of a DDoS attack is to flood a website or online service with requests, overwhelming the server and causing it to crash. To accomplish this, the attacker may use a combination of techniques, such as sending large amounts of data or requests, creating large numbers of simultaneous connections, or consuming all of the available resources on a server.

Common types of DDoS attacks

There are several different types of DDoS attacks, each with its own characteristics and level of complexity.

Spoofed IP address attacks are when the attacker disguises their IP address to make it appear as if the attack is coming from a legitimate source.

Botnet attacks are networks of computers that have been compromised by malware and are used to launch large-scale network attacks.

Reflection attacks take advantage of the target website or service to amplify the attack, sending a flood of requests from multiple sources.

Volumetric attacks involve flooding the target with large amounts of traffic. Volumetric DDoS attacks may use a variety of techniques, such as sending large amounts of data or requests, creating large numbers of simultaneous connections, or consuming all of the available resources on a server.

Application layer attacks target specific applications or services, such as web servers or databases. These attacks are designed to disrupt the normal functioning of the application or service, disrupting customers and business operations.

Protocol attacks are designed to disrupt the communication between the target and the source, such as by sending invalid requests or manipulating the communication protocol.

Identifying a DDoS attack

Identifying a DDoS attack can be difficult, as the attack may appear to be legitimate traffic. However, several signs may indicate a DDoS attack is in progress, such as sudden traffic spikes, a sudden decrease in performance, or the presence of malicious requests.

If you suspect that your website or online service is under attack, it’s important to take steps to identify the attack. You should monitor your network for any suspicious activity and analyse your traffic logs for any abnormal patterns. You should also keep an eye on your performance metrics, as a decrease in performance can be a sign of an attack. Finally, you should check your security logs for any suspicious requests or connections.

Best practices for preventing DDoS attacks

The best way to protect your website or online service from a DDoS attack is to take steps to prevent the attack in the first place. There are several best practices you can follow to help keep your website or online service safe:

  • Have a DDoS response plan: Have a plan in place in case of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack so your organisation can act quickly. This plan should describe how to continue operations if the attack is successful, the technical knowledge and expertise needed, and a list of systems that need to be checked for potential threats.
  • Perform network vulnerability assessments: Be alert at all times for signs of an attack and discover flaws in your networks before an intruder does. A vulnerability assessment involves pinpointing security vulnerabilities for you to patch to be better ready for a DDoS attack, or any other cyber security dangers in general.
  • Harden security against attacks: Make sure your Infrastructure is protected from DDoS attacks by using multi-level security strategies. This can include utilising systems that integrate firewalls, VPNs, anti-spam, content filtering, and other security layers to keep track of events and detect any traffic irregularities that could be a sign of DDoS attacks.
  • Know the warning signs of an imminent DDoS attack: It’s important to be able to recognize the indications of a DDoS attack early on as it will allow you to take action and reduce any harm. Poor connectivity, poor performance, and web crashes that happen sporadically are all signs that an attack from a DDoS offender may be occurring. Make sure your team members understand the warning signals of DDoS attacks to ensure everyone is aware.
  • Cloud-based solutions to protect against DDoS attacks: Cloud-based security solutions, such as cloud-based firewalls, are designed to detect and block malicious traffic before it reaches your website or online service. Additionally, cloud-based security solutions can be used to filter out malicious requests, such as those from a DDoS attack, and alert an administrator.

Protect your business with leading security experts

DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly common, and business owners and IT professionals need to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect their websites or online services from these attacks. INTELLIWORX managed security services can prevent DDoS attacks from disrupting your business, through comprehensive security solutions including security monitoring, intrusion detection, and incident response, as well as tools to help you quickly identify and respond to threats. Contact us today to learn more about our security solutions and how we can help protect your business from DDoS attacks.

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