Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are a primary concern when it comes to internet security. They represent a malicious attempt to target a server, network, or service by significantly flooding web traffic to disrupt that location. These types of attacks are effective because they use multiple computer systems that are already compromised as their traffic sources. Machines at risk include computers and other devices, plus networked services like the Internet of Things (IoT).
Think of a DDoS attack as a traffic jam. It is unexpected and blocks the freeway. This prevents ordinary traffic from traveling to a destination. The largest DDoS attack in recent history occurred in 2021 to Yandex, with almost 22 million requests sent per second.
How DDoS Attacks Work
DDoS attacks occur using computers and IoT devices connected to the internet. Malware infects these devices, which are then controlled by the person or group launching the attack. The infected devices are known as bots or zombies, but when in groups, they are called botnets.
Attackers send instructions remotely to each bot to target a server or network. They often use botnets so multiple requests can be sent to the IP address in an effort to overwhelm the target location. This results in a denial of service to ordinary traffic.
DDoS attacks are relevant today because companies rely on websites to attract new business, sell products, and interact with their customers. Even brick and mortar stores sell products online, and the number of online-only companies continues to increase.
Identifying DDoS Attacks
A study by Securelist finds UDP flooding to be the primary type of DDoS attack, accounting for 60% of attacks. This study also reports that the longest DDoS attack in 2021 lasted 776 hours, more than 32 days.
You can identify a DDoS attack if your company’s website or services suddenly become unavailable or extremely slow. This is difficult to figure out since legitimate traffic spikes do occur. There are several ways to prevent a DDoS attack. The first is to ensure your network is highly secured. These attacks only occur if a hacker has enough time to send a large number of requests to the server or network. Increased security gives you time to identify such an attack before it gains traction.
How to Prevent DDoS Attacks
Watch for warning signs like slow performance, poor connectivity, and high traffic demand for a specific page or single endpoint. You should continuously monitor your traffic because analyzing it in real-time will help you identify any traces of DDoS activity.
Be sure to create a response plan. If a DDoS attack occurs, you need to respond as quickly as possible. Knowing what steps you will take is crucial to mitigating the attack. Consider how business operations will be handled while you implement a solution and know what escalation protocols you will put in place.
Increase your bandwidth so it will be harder for cybercriminals to launch their attack. Also, ensure all network configurations are up to date. As a strong line of defense, let managed services handle your cybersecurity to make sure the right protections are in place.
The cost of a managed service provider will significantly outweigh the cost of an attack. According to Info Security Magazine, the cost of a DDoS attack in the U.S. is reported to be around $218,000, and that doesn’t even include the additional cost of ransomware.
A managed service provider can help keep your network running optimally, while mitigating risk against DDoS attacks. Learn more about current threats and attacks on the TPx cybersecurity threat map and how you can be better protected with TPx.