Protecting Your Business against DDoS Attacks
Protecting Your Business against DDoS Attacks
As technology becomes more sophisticated and continues to advance, so does the cyber threats.
These days, even successful enterprises fall prey to vicious cyberattacks. And these attacks are showing no signs of slowing down: According to reports, the number of cybercrimes has continuously increased since 2015. These cyber threats, which Europol describes as having gone through a relentless growth, is expected to cost a total of $2 trillion globally in 2019.
If your company wants to keep its servers safe, it's about time you apply efficient DDoS protection.
Understanding DDoS Attacks
Let’s start with the basics. DDoS, or a distributed denial-of-service, is an attack that sabotages an online system or network by directing unusually high internet traffic to a single server. This traffic is sourced from a variety of malicious servers, usually carrying a Trojan horse. The most common type of these malicious servers are IoT (internet of things) devices and computers.
Since DDoS attacks are distributed from different sources, or various IP addresses, it can be challenging to remove the threat fast enough. In most cases, the source can continuously disrupt online traffic over a period of time using different IP addresses. This means that your businesses can be shut off from their own systems, leaving them with absolutely no access to the company’s network or vital data.
And this is never a good thing for any business.
The biggest challenge of a DDoS attack is the loss of access to your service or system. Additionally, this also means that the system is infiltrated by a hacker and that your data most likely has been compromised. However, there are more reasons for why your business should have DDoS protection in place:
- Anybody is capable of launching a DDoS attack. Unfortunately, there is an active black market online where you can easily buy the services of botnets. You are likely to easily find someone willing to destroying or shutting down networks – and sometimes for as little as $200.
- DDoS attacks disrupt not only the network, but also the entire day-to-day activities of your business. This often leads to a decline in productivity and a decrease in revenue.
- Since your network is infiltrated, the attacker can easily get hold of your sensitive data and financial information. Naturally, this can easily escalate to fraudulent activities.
- Regardless of size or industry, you cannot escape the destruction brought by a DDoS attack. Although different industries are attacked in different ways, they are attacked nonetheless.
Different Types of DDoS attacks
There are many ways of carrying out a DDoS attack these days. Our security experts have gathered up the three most common ones:
- The Layer 7 (or application layer) attacks
Layer 7 DDoS attacks can be incredibly difficult to detect and flag as malicious. In most cases, nobody notices the attack until the network shuts down unexpectedly. Unlike other attacks, the Layer 7 attack does not bog down the network with traffic. Instead, it attacks the server by locking an application. Due to this, the network’s resources, or the application layer, are completely exhausted. This renders the entire system inaccessible and unavailable.
- Traffic attacks
A DDoS traffic attack floods the target with ICPM, UDP, and TCP packets in large volumes. UDP Floods, which is short for User Datagram Protocol, is most commonly used in DDoS breaches these days. However it doesn’t work by sending an overload of data to the server, rather, it targets the connection itself and saturates it.
As a result, your requests will not be recognized and will get lost in the process. Most of these attacks come with malware.
- Volumetric/bandwidth attacks
This DDoS attack is capable of saturating your network bandwidth with an unexplainable amount of junk data. In addition to this, a volumetric attack means that you will also lose access to all equipment resources.
How much does DDoS cost businesses?
As technology continues to advance, so do DDoS attacks.
The advances in malware attacks and other security breaches, particularly in how they are launched as well as their objectives, have tremendously developed. As a result, malicious hackers are now braver and more confident than ever before.
Back in the 90s, when the Spice Girls were still a thing and DDoS attacks were in in their early stages, the targets were mostly large enterprises. Nowadays, even small businesses are being targeted and victimised. And it comes with a great cost: as per reports, “attacks are costing enterprises up to £35,000 per attack in lost business and productivity plus mitigation costs.” Not only does these attacks result in productivity and financial problems for the concerned businesses, but it also effects every aspect of a business – from the day-to-day operations all the way to revenue. Even the image of a company is affected.
This is why it’s important for all businesses, regardless of size or industry, to set up a stable protection program against DDoS attacks.
Protect your business from DDoS attacks
As these types of cyber attacks can happen anytime, to any business, it’s important to implement a robust DDoS protection strategy for your business as soon as possible. Here’s a few security measures that should be put into place as soon as possible.
Assess your security needs
The first thing that needs to be done is a complete analysis of your company’s security needs and its current security set up.
What kind of cyber security do you have at the moment? How secure is it? Will this security program be enough to protect your system from DDoS? Are all hardware and software upgrades updated? Once you have determined the answers to these questions, you can proceed to enumerating the actual security needs of your company.
Carefully monitor traffic
Next on your list should be the creation of traffic thresholds.
This can be done with your IT personnel or your managed services partner. If you already have a way of monitoring daily website traffic, it will be easy to set up the thresholds. Once this process is done, you will be able to not only monitor traffic, you’ll also be able to easily determine which of the volume coming in are normal and which ones are way over the regular traffic your site receives. Because you have set specific thresholds, you’ll be notified when the regular 12,000 daily visitors your website gets suddenly goes up to 35,000 visitors, for example.
We also recommend to regularly monitor IP addresses, so that you can identify which ones should be flagged as negative or potential attackers. Often, IP addresses from which hackers unleash an attack will reconnect with your website only after switching to a different IP address. You should come up with a list of blacklisted or blocked IP addresses, so that you will have a clear idea of which ones to guard.
Implement strict BYOD rules
DDoS attackers love the internet of things, so it’s imperative that you set up strict rules on IoT and make sure that these are properly implemented. Creating a thorough BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) rulebook should help keep your system safe from both in and outside risks.
Experiencing top security with your mobile devices is an actual possibility – as long as you put the right security measures into place.
Be prepared for an attack
In a worst case scenario, make sure you have clear guidelines on what to do.
Ideally, your IT department should have a systematic guide on what to do in the event of a DDoS attack happening. Unfortunately, not knowing what to do and not having any counterattack process will very often worsen your situation. Also, make sure that your process is practiced several times. Do not forget to inform all the employees, not just your IT personnel, about the guidelines.
But what should you include in the guidelines?
- How to get in touch with your vendor’s emergency response group
- Identify where the attack started and where its detection point was
- Identify the type of attack and what tool was used to carry it out
- Find a good protection and mitigation system
- Document the process
We also recommend that you communicate with your clients about what happened. As such, you should set up a reliable automated communication system that you can use to immediately get in touch with customers and partners. However, make sure to communicate that there are no problems on the clients’ end, and that your IT department is already applying measures to correct the situation and prevent the same thing from happening again.
Set up a DDoS defence protection service for your business
With the help of your IT team, or an IT managed services provider, choose a DDoS defence protection service that is capable of handling all types of attacks. Pair off your layered DDoS defence with a dependable DDoS mitigation system.
A DDoS mitigation system or service refers to the procedure or process of providing DDoS attack protection to a network or target. Typically, what happens is a four-way process: the system recognizes an abnormal or erratic flow of traffic; this then result to the traffic being rerouted; this traffic is filtered so that only the clean one remains and moves on; and the last step is analysis of the situation so that problems of the same kind won’t happen again.
Never hesitate to ask for help from a professional provider or network security expert.
Protect your business with SAS
Unless you want your business to experience the horrors of a DDoS attacks, you should immediately sit down with your IT heads and draw up a good plan of action and security system.
Do you want to experience great cyber security protection, but don’t know where to start? Software Advisory Service can create a bespoke shortlist of cyber security solutions tailored to your requirements. Simply fill out the form to your right, and one of our security experts will be in touch with you shortly.
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