In February 2020, Amazon Web Services mitigated the largest Distributed Denial of Service attack ever recorded. Amazon detailed this attack in their AWS Shield Threat Landscape Report – Q1 2020. Although the disruptions caused by the 2.3 Terabytes per second (TBps) attack were far less severe, its sheer scale and the implication of AWS hosting clients losing revenues and being victims of a tainted brand reputation were significant.
The attempted AWS DDoS attack might as well be a drop in the oceans. DDoS attacks have become more attractive for cybercriminals intending to create distractions and chaos. The attacks have become more intense recently. Cisco projected the number of Distributed Denial of Service attacks to double from 7.9 million as witnessed in 2018 to a whopping 15 million-plus in 2023.
Although DDoS attacks are rising to extremities, they are not inevitable. Several strategies working in unison have proved to be effective to prevent DDoS attacks. However, before we check out the prevention measures, it will be wise first to understand what a DDoS attack is and how it happens.
- What is a DDoS Attack?
A DDoS attack is one of the most lethal weapons attackers use to infiltrate websites and online services. The primary motive of a Distributed Denial of Service attack is to overwhelm an online service or a website with more traffic than the servers can handle.
Flooding a network or a server with incoming messages, fake packets, or malformed connection requests may cause the network to slow down or become inoperable. The attack may thus deny services to the website’s legitimate users’ systems or servers.
- How To Protect Your Network from DDoS Attacks
The overwhelming influx of traffic caused by a DDoS attack could cause your servers to crash down, disrupting normal operations and costing companies a lot of money.
A Kaspersky Lab Report revealed that DDoS cost Small and Medium enterprises an average of $2M. If you are a WordPress website dealing with service and carry out monetary transactions then, DDoS mitigation service should be implemented because DDoS attack can interfere with WordPress security and put the organization at risk, makes loss of revenue.
- Increase Network Bandwidth
A DDoS attack occurs when an attacker overwhelms a network with too much traffic. One of the perfect ways to handle heavy traffic is to provide extra bandwidth to handle unexpected spikes in traffic. However, this technique might prove costly since most of the bandwidth will lie idle most of the time.
So that you know, no bandwidth will be able to withstand DDoS threats exceeding 1 Tbps. Additionally, the effectiveness of the extra bandwidth has proved to be ineffective as DDoS attacks become more and more sophisticated and happen on a large-scale basis. However, despite these facts, equipping your network with extra bandwidth could play a very significant role in cushioning your network from the impact of DDoS attacks.
- Multi-Layered DDoS Protection
Long ago, Distributed Denial of Service attacks were mainly three or four layers of volumetric attacks. However, today, they have undergone significant revolutions. We have many different DDoS attacks today, and each attack seems to target a different layer. For example, we now have DDoS attacks targeting network layers, session layers, application layers, and transport layers.
The best strategy is to take a multi-layered approach to detect, mitigate and protect your system from DDoS attacks. In simple words, your DDoS prevention strategy should encompass multiple protection layers against all forms of DDoS attacks and not only focus on the volumetric ones.
- Security Audits and Packet Monitoring DDoS Attacks Mitigation
A robust security audit will help you monitor your network for any malicious traffic and also help you identify the early warning signs of a DDoS attack. Today, monitoring your network for unsafe traffic has been made easier with routers that support flow sampling. Flow sampling is essential because it synchronizes incoming data packets to paint a fair picture of the network traffic trends.
However, flow sampling also has a drawback. It only looks at the silver traffic, one at a time. As such, it can potentially miss out on hazardous traffic trends and give false positives. Flow analytics devices are comparatively more effective than flow sampling. They portray an accurate picture of data traffic. Furthermore, they come equipped with DDoS prevention solutions to redirect traffic flagged as unusual. They allow continued monitoring of incoming and outgoing traffic, thereby helping to prevent DDoS attacks.
- Use firewalls to Block Malicious Traffic from Reaching Your Infrastructure.
The moment it dawns on you that a DDoS attack is in progress, there are several actions that you should take to prevent malicious traffic from reaching your network. The first prevention strategy you should take is to “null-route” the traffic. Null-routing will redirect the malicious requests to the botnet direction.
Firewalls optimized to prevent DDoS will also play a crucial role in identifying incomplete connections and helping to flush them out from your network. In addition, an excellent firewall will be capable of recognizing a sudden uptick in network traffic. Finally, the firewall will also help to prevent traffic that could be dangerous from reaching your network.
- Invest in BackUps and Infrastructure Redundancies
In one way or another, clever and sophisticated hackers will always find a way to drive unsafe traffic to your network. Cybersecurity and IT experts shift their attention to backups and redundancies to protect their systems against DDoS attacks. The goal of a DDoS attack is usually to disrupt service and normal operations. Therefore, you should strive to keep your operations up and running even after a successful DDoS attack.
Instead of facing DDoS attacks head-on, redundancies allow potential victims to expand their infrastructure capacity, making it more resilient. The redundant system is where the company will fall back to allow itself to continue operating. Redundancies also help prevent DDoS since it will be easier to combat the attack by cutting off and rerouting the traffic more effectively.
- Use a Data Center to Block DDoS Attacks
Another perfect way of preventing DDoS attacks is by using data centres. Data centres have much more bandwidth capacity and safe routers, making them well-equipped to manage incoming traffic and withstand any attempt to overwhelm it with malicious traffic. For instance, they have ISP connections that give networks a multi-layered redundancy and real-time monitoring driven by predictive analytics. They are also backed up by remote hands services which make them well-equipped to withstand DDoS attacks.
- Incorporate Artificial Intelligence in Your Cybersecurity Strategy
If there is one hard-to-swallow fact, you should know that DDoS attacks will not always happen when your cybersecurity team is in office. Instead, attackers hit when you least expect them to, and they hit hard. The best remedy here is to choose cybersecurity tools that have incorporated Artificial Intelligence. Such tools will proactively monitor your software network, incoming and outgoing traffic and keep cybersecurity threats in control, whether or not your IT team is available.
Cybersecurity tools with AI and machine learning capabilities will identify normal traffic patterns and block access to suspicious traffic.
DDoS attacks have been increasing recently, and so should the need to protect your business against such attacks. Downtimes that result from such attacks usually come with devastating repercussions. An excellent DDoS prevention strategy will help to keep your website up and to run. Using these tips, you can protect your system from any dangers that come with DDoS attacks. As a general rule, you must ensure that you use multiple security layers. The more security layers you have, the better you become equipped to prevent your networks from Distributed Denial of Service attacks.