If you own a website or an app, you should be worried about DDoS attack, unless, of course, you have taken action to prevent them. In the past year, DDoS has overwhelmed some of the biggest websites such as Netflix, Twitter, and even Reddit. These attacks forced these websites to go offline. Now, if these big-brand websites can be affected, chances you that you might not be spared unless you take action on time.

 

What is DDoS Attack?

Distributed Denial of Service, commonly referred to as DDoS is a type of attack that slows down a website and forces crucial services to go offline. This type of attack is carried out by flooding the network with requests that tie up its resources making it extremely difficult for network users to access information. The common characteristics of this type of attack are unusually slow network performance or inability to access the website.

In the recent years, DDoS attacks are getting more rampant, daring, and dangerous. This year (2018), there has been a number of high-profile victims of DDoS attacks such as Amazon, Google, GitHub, Pinterest, and even PlayStation. According to a research by Corero Network Security, the number of attacks increased by 35% between Q2 2017 and Q3 2017.  In the Q4 of 2017, DDoS attacks affected 84 countries. China was the most affected, followed by the US, and South Korea while Britain came in at the fourth place. Without a doubt, these attacks are becoming more prevalent and you need to take action today before it becomes too late.

In this article, you will learn of various types of DDoS attacks and how you can guard against them. Keep on reading to learn more about DDoS attacks.

Color photo of a laptop screen with inscription in browser: The page cannot be displayed.
The consequences of DDoS attack can be severe and pricey. | Photo credit: Pixabay
Types of DDoS Attacks:

The most common type of DDoS attacks include:

1. SYN Flood

This type of attack has become very rampant in the recent years. It is commonly known as a three-way handshake. It occurs by exploiting a weakness in the TCP connection sequence. SYN starts by requesting to initiate a TCP connection with a host. This request must be answered by an SYN-ACK response from the host. The requester sends multiple SYN requests from a spoofed IP address, keeping the SYN-ACK of the host without acknowledgment until it used up resources and no new connections can be made.

 

2. HTTP Flood

This type of DDoS makes use of less bandwidth than other types of DDoS. It usually looks to be a legitimate POS requests. However, the hacker can utilize it to force the server to use up its resources

 

3. UDP Flood

The UDP, otherwise known as User Datagram Protocol is sessionless networking protocol. Usually, UDP has one goal and that is to flood random ports on a remote host forcing the host to repeatedly check for the application listening at the port. Of course, the aim remains to use up host resources and avoid other network users from getting access to the network.

 

4. Ping of Death

This is another dangerous type of DDoS attack. It works by sending malicious pings to a system. In recent years, most companies have learned how to deal with it, it is no longer prevalent because it is not as effective as it used to be two decades ago.

Other types of DDoS attack you should know include Fraggle Attack, Slowloris, Smurf Attack, Application Level Attacks, NTP Amplification, Advanced Persistent DoS, and Zero-day DDoS attacks.

 

Blue color photo of a round ball with numbers one and zero inside, used to illustrate the meaning of connections between Internet and DDoS attacks.
Is it possible to prevent DDoS Attacks? | Photo credit: Pixabay
How to Prevent DDoS Attacks

Take the steps below to prevent a DDoS attack and keep your business safe:

 

1. Make Sure You Have Extra Bandwidth

With an extra bandwidth, you will have extra time to identify and deal with a DDoS attack. Moreover, when you have an extra bandwidth, it gives your server a chance to accommodate unexpected spikes in traffic. Note that simply having extra bandwidth cannot fully protect you from an attack but will give you the time you need to identify it and prevent. It is especially useful in attacks like volumetric DDoS Attacks.

 

2. Monitor Traffic Levels

One popular characteristic of DDoS attack is unusual huge traffic spike. In recent years, smart criminals are disguising their attacks by attacking when websites usually have lots of traffic such as Black Friday and Christmas. Always look out for abnormal spikes in your traffic and ensure you have set a threshold for automated reports when these are exceeded.

 

3. Make Use of Content Delivery Network

Using a Content Delivery Network otherwise known as CDN is one of the most potent defense you can put against DDoS attacks. This technology works by identifying traffic that could be part of a DDoS attack and then divert such traffic to a third-party cloud infrastructure. However, this technology doesn’t come cheap but is totally worth buying.

 

4. Use a Dedicated Server

If you can afford a dedicated server, not only you will have more bandwidth but you will also enjoy greater control over security. You can buy a dedicated server with automatic DDoS attack mitigation and you will certainly get support from your provider in case of an attack.

 

5. Create a Resilient Architecture

It is important that you have a resilient architecture if you want to have a chance to withstand an attack. This is not only important for DDoS attacks but will also help your business improve. You can create a resilient architecture by spreading your resources across multiple data centers. The benefit of this is that you will instantly get a backup when one service is knocked offline. Companies such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure provide businesses an opportunity to host their services in geographically separate data centers. You can look into using their services.

 

6. Create a DDoS Action Plan

Every top business have a DDoS action plan, it is important that you create one if you don’t already have. It is easier to prevent and respond to a DDoS attack when you have an action plan. Don’t wait until you are hit to create one. You need to create a system that will enable you to mitigate the risk of these attacks when they occur. You should also get your staff ready and teach them how to respond to an attack. To create an actionable plan, you can learn a thing or two from this DDoS Incident Response Sheet which created by Lenny Zeltser of GIAX Security.

 

Final Words

You can only be able to prevent DDoS attacks if you learn how they work and have a plan and technology in place to prevent them. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses do not have time for this. To protect yourself, make sure you hire an online security specialist to take a look at your network infrastructure and help you build a strong defense against DDoS attacks. Want to know more about Cyber Threats? Here is our article about XSS Attacks.

 

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DDoS attacks and how to prevent them

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