Everything You Need To Know About DDOS Attacks

DDoS Attacks

Do you know almost 1/3 of all downtime incidents are caused by DDOS attacks?

Believe it or not, it’s actually true as suggested by a research conducted by Verisign. Now that is a lot!

If you own any online business no matter big or small, chances are you have come across DDOS attacks at least once and you know how bad it is for business. Right?
So, let’s find out what exactly is a DDOS attack and how to make sure that your online business is DDOS proof.

What is a DDOS attack?

A Distributed Denial of Service AKA DDOS attack is an attempt to make an online site unavailable to users by flooding it with traffic from compromised devices (Botnets).

Think of it in a simple way, your web server or network can handle a certain amount of traffic and when that amount exceeds, the website becomes unavailable for the legit users to access. After all, a server can handle only so much.

How does it work?

A DDOS attack is performed by an army of infected devices called a “Botnet.”

First, the attacker looks for vulnerabilities in computers and other IoT devices and then exploit them through malware or other different techniques to gain remote access to those devices. Each of the infected devices is referred to as a “Bot” or a “Zombie” and the aggressor doesn’t stop until he has thousands and thousands of such bots in his control forming a network of devices “botnet.”

Once equipped with enough arsenal in the bank, the attacker identifies his target website and then uses this botnet to flood it with the traffic causing a denial of service or making the website unavailable for the real users for a definite period of time.

It is extremely difficult to differentiate between real users’ traffic and traffic from bots and this is why DDOS attacks are extremely effective and popular among hackers.
Different types of DDOS attacks:

Nearly all the DDOS attacks are performed by flooding the network of the target device, the techniques used to do so may vary.

Based on the different components or “layers” of a network attacked, all DDOS attacks can be categorized into three major types.

1. Volumetric Attacks:
In this type of DDOS attack, the aggressor tries to consume all the available bandwidth between the target and the larger internet. The magnitude of this attack is measured in bits per second.

The target website is flooded with traffic from millions of infected devices referred to as Botnet consuming all the available bandwidth available and resulting in overwhelming the processing capabilities of a network.

2. Protocol Attacks:
Protocol DDOS attacks involve consuming the actual server resources of a website by finding vulnerabilities in the protocols of servers such as firewalls, application servers, load balancers and etc.

These type of attacks also includes targeting a server’s ability to re-assemble the streams and significantly impacting its performance.
Such attacks are measured in packets per second.

3. Application Layer Attacks:
Application layer attacks can be carried out even with a considerably low traffic rate, making it the most difficult to detect.

In this, the aggressor looks for vulnerabilities in a specific aspect of an application or the server and makes use of them to overwhelm the server.

The magnitude of such attacks is measured in requests per second.

What are your options to fight against DDOS attacks?

Okay, so let’s talk about your options against DDOS attacks.

1. Seek professional help:

Since DDOS attacks are extremely difficult to detect, the best way to fight against them is to seek help from professionals. Seeking professional help from cloud-based service providers for DDOS protection offers many advantages. The cloud-based providers take care of all the potential risks of hacking and DDOS attacks so that you can focus on your business without worrying about the security of your site.

Think of it as your own force who will guard you against the crooks keeping your online business safe and secure.

2. Building up a firewall to fight against DDOS attacks:
Writing up a python script to filter out bad traffic from the real one is also an effective way to protect your site. If you know how to code and can write a solid script, you can give this method a try.

However, it requires professional-level expertise, and to say the least, it’s extremely difficult.

Furthermore, DDOS attacks these days are much more complex and a simple script might not even work.

3. Deploying DDOS mitigation appliances:

If you own a high-risk online business, then you can consider deploying on-premise DDOS mitigation appliances. However, they are extremely expensive and they need to be updated quite frequently.

4. Building a strong network design:

Another effective way for DDOS protection is to focus on building a strong network design. You can consider keeping backup network resources so that in case of a DDOS attack, the backup servers can handle the traffic from the botnet making sure that your site is accessible to the real users.

There are a few more methods worth looking at for DDOS protection, however, almost all of them require either technical expertise and a lot of hassle. So, the best way to make your site anti-DDOS and safe are to consider seeking help from professionals.

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