How to Protect Against DDoS Attacks

Digital systems are at the heart of every business. From sending and receiving emails, to customers accessing your website, technology is crucial to business operations. However, as with all things valuable, there’s always a malicious actor out there looking to exploit it.

Imagine one day you come to work to find your website inaccessible, or your internal systems compromised. You discover a huge surge of artificial traffic is impacting systems and bringing your business to a standstill. What would you do? What CAN you do?

This is the reality of experiencing a DDoS attack.

This guide aims to equip you with all essential knowledge and tools necessary for protecting against these malicious attacks which can be hugely detrimental. We’ll equip you with effect methods to safeguard your organistion from the potential damages resulting from a DDoS attack and help maintain business continuity.


Understanding DDoS Attacks

DDoS, or distributed denial of service (DDoS), attacks are malicious attempts to disrupt normal operation and gain access to business data. This is done by flooding the targeted server with artificially generated traffic from compromised IP addresses located throughout the internet.

These types of attacks aim to overwhelm servers using excessive amounts of traffic in order for attackers to slow down or cease service of the target site.

A similar type of attack is a DOS attack denial-of-service attack, but there are distinct differences between the two.

A core distinction between a DoS attack and its DDoS counterpart lies within how much disruption takes place. DDoS involves multiple distinct IPs all bombarding at once, whereas traditional DoS happens via just one attacking point. This means DDoS attacks are more harmful than their DoS counterparts and therefore businesses which rely heavily on their websites uptime and e-commerce channels must consider a solution to defend against such attacks.


Different Types of DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks can be split into three main classifications: volumetric, protocol-related, and application.

Volumetric assaults cause bottlenecking on a network by consuming available bandwidth between devices and the internet. For example, ICMP floods and UDP floods involve sending corrupted data packets to servers hosting applications that utilise UDP with false source IPs leading to high levels of response traffic coming in at once.

Protocol attacks take their toll on server or network assets via tactics like SYN flooding—which fills victims’ systems with requests prompting them to establish connections but never receive confirmation resulting in choked connections not being completed—and even targeting critical components such as the Internet Control Message Protocol needed for communication among machines over the net too may come under attack.

HTTP Floods (aka apps based) leverage exploits directed at web page generation & delivery through swarms of bogus HTTP queries exhausting resources within causing disruption/outages all while disguising themselves as legitimate traffic using valid URLs etc.


What Motivates People to Deploy DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks can be driven by a range of motivations, including ideological, rivalry between businesses or simply cyber vandalism.

In some situations, hackers may even use the threat of an attack to extort money from their target. These types of attacks are sometimes used as part of more elaborate plans to draw attention away from security personnel while simultaneously exploiting known or zero-day vulnerabilities within your network. The effects of this can be devastating.

The dual pronged approach of using a DDoS attack to divert security resources whilst also undertaking other attacks is a common tactic utilised by many different malicious actors today who plan on hostilities far beyond just DDoS attacks.


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Essential Steps to Prevent DDoS Attacks

Protecting from DDoS attacks requires an pro-active strategy that involves monitoring and analysing traffic patterns, constructing a reaction plan and boosting network infrastructure. By employing the essential steps for preventing DDoS attacks, organisations can ensure continued access to their networks and prevent capacity issues during critical times.


Know Your Network Traffic Patterns

Monitoring incoming traffic and analysing network traffic patterns are important to detect anomalies or possible DDoS attacks. By understanding what’s considered “normal” in terms of website visits, bandwidth consumption, etc., organisations can quickly take steps against any suspicious activity.

Sophisticated telemetry tools may be beneficial for identifying a DDOS attack. Some tell-tale signs include increased web visitors, decreased performance among legitimate users, error messages when trying to access the site as well as unusual firewall logs/activity related to an increase in bandwidth usage.


Implement a DDoS Response Plan

Developing a full-scale DDoS response plan is essential to counter any potential attacks quickly and effectively. This resilience strategy should encompass:

  • Having an emergency site prepared
  • Backing up data regularly
  • Establishing a recoverability method
  • Locating crucial backups of information stored off-site

It’s necessary that all those associated with planning review it often in order to make sure they have complete understanding of their roles during such attacks, identify possible weaknesses or problems related on top of building trust regarding this procedure prior when it becomes necessary to put the plan into action against sudden attacks.


Strengthen Network Infrastructure

Minimising the chance of DDoS attacks involves strengthening network durability. This can be done by diversifying data centres, networks, and servers. Getting rid of unused ports is also recommended. Having multiple different locations for your data centres makes it difficult for attackers to exploit a single point of failure as they will need to target various dispersed resources and services across many places simultaneously.

Redundancy should be implemented when you have numerous data facilities so that in case one centre has been targeted or compromised, the whole system will still work without any interruptions taking place whatsoever.


How Can Aspire Help?

Here at Aspire we can help where your organisation has been the victim of DDoS attacks or if you are looking for a solution to prevent attacks in the future. We can handle all the necessary technical aspects mentioned above and give you that peace of mind that your business has full protection against threat actors deploying these attacks.

We utilise a partnership with one of our tier 1 transit carriers which helps us mitigate DDoS attacks before they even become a problem for your business. We utilise best in class tools as well as global scrubbing centres where potentially harmful traffic is routed to be analysed and any harmful data is removed before being safely routed back to your network. This advanced solution helps effectively prevent DDoS attacks of all sizes and especially ones so large that would simply sink the connections to your website or resources once deployed.

Additionally, as well as our above solution we can also help your business gain network redundancy and help you migrate network resources off-site and to our multiple datacentres. Aspire can provide the consultative approach necessary to give you that peace of mind in that you are doing all you can to prevent and strengthen against these attacks.


Key Takeaways

  • Understand what a DDoS attack is, the differing types of attack, the motivations behind them and how to protect against them.
  • Monitor traffic regularly with best-in-class tools, utilise global scrubbing centres and allow true cyber security professionals to ensure your business is safe from harm.
  • Aspire can help you on your journey to ensuring that your network and critical business resources are protected from these threat actors.

Secure your organisation
from cyber security threats

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Avatar photoKieran Nicholl

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