As more businesses and individuals rely on digital platforms, protecting your infrastructure and network from malicious cyber attacks is increasingly important. One of the most common forms of cyber attacks is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). In this guide, you’ll learn what a DDoS attack is, how to protect yourself from it, and what to do if you are targeted.
What is a DDoS Attack?
DDOS is a form of cyber-attack in which multiple computers simultaneously assault a target – with the goal of rendering that service or resource inoperable. It is a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming it with a flood of Internet traffic.
Imagine this: Your local pub has just one single combined entrance and exit. A DDOS attack would seem like a large crowd of people attempting to walk through the door at the same time. Because no one can fit through, access is therefore limited for everyone.
Traffic is sent from multiple sources with the intention of making it difficult to identify the original source or determine its origin. DDoS attacks are often used to force websites and services offline, to slow down websites and other online services, or cause them to crash completely.
How DDoS Attacks are Executed
DDoS attacks are typically carried out by sending large amounts of malicious traffic across the Internet to overwhelm a server or service. These malicious packets come from multiple sources, including other computers that have been taken over by malicious software, or bots, and can range from mild nuisance attacks to highly sophisticated prolonged assaults. The goal of the attack is to overwhelm the targeted server or service with more traffic than it can handle, resulting in an unusable service for legitimate requests.
Who Uses DDoS Attacks?
DDoS attacks are used by a wide range of malicious actors, from hackers to hacktivists and nation-states. The motivations vary depending on the attacker, and can include retribution for perceived wrongs, creating chaos for the thrill of it, or political gain. DDoS attackers typically work in small groups or alone, but large scale coordinated attacks have been seen in recent years conducted by criminal organisations and government-sponsored programs.
Why is a DDos Attack So Hard to Defend Against?
A DDoS attack can be extremely difficult to defend against because it relies on flooding the target with high volumes of traffic. The amount of traffic needed to successfully carry out an attack can easily overwhelm a server or network, making it impossible for legitimate traffic to get through and allowing the attacker to take down services for as long as they desire. This is why it’s so important to use multiple layers of protection when setting up your digital defences.
Ways to Protect Your Organisation from a DDoS Attack
DDoS attacks are becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect, so it’s important to have multiple layers of protection in place and to review and update your defence strategy regularly.
By having multiple layers of defence, such as firewall protection and anti-DDoS services, you can ensure that even if one layer fails, the others will still be able to keep the traffic out:
- Build redundancy into your system: One of the best ways to protect yourself from a DDoS attack is to run multiple copies of each service on different networks, you can then make sure that even if one copy of your service is taken offline by an attack, users can quickly switch over to the other running instances.
- Use a DDoS protection service: Many companies offer DDoS protection services, using tools such as Fortinet’s FortiDDoS, that can help to absorb and filter out malicious traffic before it reaches your network.
- Implement network traffic management: By limiting the amount of traffic that is allowed to reach your network, you can reduce the impact of a DDoS attack. This can be done by using firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and rate-limiting techniques.
- Have a response plan in place: Having a plan in place for dealing with a DDoS attack can help you to respond quickly and effectively when an attack occurs. This should include identifying the source of the attack and implementing countermeasures to mitigate its impact.
- Keep your software and systems up-to-date: Make sure that all software and systems are up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. This will help to prevent vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.
If you are interested in advanced protection from DDoS attacks then contact our team of cyber experts for more information.