Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have become rampant over the last couple of years, primarily because of the pandemic. Many people are working from home and accessing online services throughout the pandemic.
In a report from NETSCOUT, about 10 million DDoS attacks occurred in 2020. It primarily targets remote and other essential services that are often used to make it through the lockdown.
Industries hit hard by these attacks are healthcare, e-commerce, and streaming services.
What is a DDoS attack?
In a nutshell, a DDoS attack involves bombarding an IP address with substantial traffic volumes. So, if the IP address points to a web server, legit traffic can’t reach it, and your site becomes unavailable.
A flood attack is another type of DDoS attack. Groups of servers are flooded with requests which need processing by victim machines. It’s often generated in huge numbers by scripts that run on compromised machines that are part of a botnet. As a result, it exhausts the server resources of the victim, such as the memory or the CPU.
As networks become more and more diverse, now is the time for network observability. What is network observability? It’s the ability to answer questions about your network quickly and efficiently.
A DDoS works in the same principles except that malicious traffic comes from several sources but comes from one central point. Since traffic sources are distributed worldwide, DDoS attack prevention is more complicated than preventing DDoS attacks from a single IP address.
Fortunately, you can avoid these attacks. Here are some of the best practices for preventing them and protecting your business:
1. Make a DDoS response plan
Do you know what you’ll do in case of a DDoS attack? How do you respond? Having a definite plan right from the get-go will allow you to react quickly and efficiently whenever your network is being targeted.
Creating a response plan can take some planning. The more complicated your site infrastructure, the more detailed your response plan is. Regardless of the size of your company, your goal should include the following:
- Systems checklist
- A professional response team
- Clearly defined notification and escalation procedures
- List of internet and external contracts which should be informed about the attack.
- Detailed communication plan for stakeholders.
2. Keep security infrastructure up to date
Your network is as strong as your weakest links. You need to know of legacy and outdated systems in your infrastructure since these can be entry points for attacks once compromised.
Your data center and systems should also be up to date. It will help if you patch your web application firewalls and network security programs that you might have. Also, when working with an ISP or hosting provider, a security and data center vendor for implementing advanced protection capabilities is an excellent idea.
Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. Your data centers should be placed on different networks to ensure that all your data centers aren’t in the exact physical location and on various data centers. You need to ensure that these aren’t places wherein traffic bottlenecks in your network.
3. Identifying your network’s traffic
Every organization’s infrastructure has internet traffic patterns, so you need to know yours. Once you know the typical traffic pattern of your organization, then you have a baseline.
Doing so ensures that you can quickly identify the symptoms of a DDoS attack if any unusual activity happens.
4. Always look out for the warning signs
Again, DDoS attacks come with classic symptoms. The most common symptoms are intermittent site shutdown, spotty internet connectivity, and disconnection.
But the problem is that these warning signs are pretty similar to other issues that you might be having in your system, like a slower internet connection and viruses.
If these problems become prolonged and severe, your network will likely suffer from a DDoS attack and utilize proper prevention actions.
5. Use a cloud-based service provider
Cloud providers are offering high levels of cybersecurity. It includes firewalls and monitoring software protecting your business assets and networks from cybercriminals. It also has much greater bandwidth than most private networks. Therefore, it’s unlikely going to fail with increasing DDoS attacks.
Similarly, reputable cloud providers have network redundancy, duplicating systems, data, and equipment. Therefore, if your services become unavailable and corrupted because of an attack, you can quickly switch to secure access on your backed-up versions.
6. Sufficient server capacity
Since many DDoS attacks work by overwhelming network bandwidth, overprovisioning bandwidth is one way to counter this attack.
Therefore, you need to ensure that your server capacity can handle several heavy traffic spikes by adding bandwidth.
Doing so ensures that you’re ready for any unexpected surges of traffic that are caused by these attacks. Although it won’t completely stop a DDoS attack, it will provide a couple of extra minutes to prepare your defense before all of your resources are used up.
7. Practice good cyber hygiene
You should also engage in the best security practices. It includes regularly changing passwords, securing authentication practices, knowing when to avoid phishing attacks, etc.
The more minor the errors you’ll be committing right from the get-go, the safer it will be for you if there’s an attack.
Over to You
Considering how complicated and devious attacks are, you’ll hopefully follow these best practices to prevent DDoS attacks effectively.
Doing so keeps your web property secure and that you’re more than ready to fight off any of these attacks. Good luck!