While the internet is one of the major commodities nowadays, it’s actually not the most pleasant of places – especially when you’re doing business. With the addition of the internet, marketing has become extremely sophisticated. But while the rise of the internet has paved the way for more opportunities, it has also become a network for potential threats and risks.
DDos – a considerable chunk of business people aren’t aware of it, but it’s actually a pretty serious issue. Without proper knowledge and awareness, your business might be susceptible of getting ‘DDoSed’. In this article, we’re going to look into what DDoS is and how you can mitigate its potential risks.
Defining DDos & What It Can Do To Your Business
DDoS is the shortened abbreviation for Distributed Denial of Service. It is the attempt to make an online service of a business temporarily – or permanently – unavailable. A DDoS attack hinders online operations, rendering it faulty and unavailable. A DDoS attack swarms a business with insurmountable amounts of traffic (the data sent or received by visitors to a system or website). This attack compromises multiple systems as the traffic tends to come from multiple sources. Systems would eventually succumb to shutting down as they are unable to process the massive amounts of data entering their websites.
DDos can potentially target any kind of business and industry, making it extremely lethal and undesirable. They usually target a single system first before spreading to other networks within an online business setting. It commonly hides beneath common viruses like a Trojan Horse to accompany the attack as it infiltrates systems and access important information.
How DDoS Attack Works
A DDoS attack is usually carried out by professional hackers. Usually, these hackers do this just for fun, for experimentation, or as a precursor to a much bigger, planned attack. Competitors of business industries also tend to hire these hackers to disrupt the business operations of their rivals.
Once a hacker initiates a DDoS attack, they will begin flooding the victim’s online business website with insurmountable amounts of traffic originating from many different sources. Most of the time their initial solution is to block a single IP address. However, this proves to be insufficient as the attack tends to hit from multiple IP sources. The numbers tend to reach from the near hundreds to the far thousands – or even more. To make things worse, identifying legitimate traffic from DDoS traffic is next to impossible to do since it spreads across so many origin points.
Types of DDoS
Apart from the typical ‘flooding of data’ technique, DDoS also come in different varieties. The following tends to be the most common variants:
- Traffic DDoS: this type of DDoS attack sends a vast amount of TCP, ICMP, and UDP packets to the target. Legitimate traffic gets covered, while these attacks are typically containing malware exploitation.
- Application DDoS: Once a website receives application-layered data messages, it can potentially deplete resources in the application layer. The effects would render the target’s online services systems unavailable.
- Bandwidth DDos: in this type of attack, hackers overload the target with junk data. The continuous attack results in the loss of equipment resources and network bandwidth. The result would point to a complete denial of services.
Note: TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol), and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) packets are data that travels along a given network path. They are commonly used in IP (Internet Protocol) transmissions for navigating the web and other networks.
The Difference Between DoS and DDoS
A common mistake that most business owners commit is believing that DoS is the same as DDoS. While both have the same intentions of inflicting damage to business systems; they are actually quite different, at least on the level of severity.
A Denial of Service (DoS) is an attack that typically uses a single computer and internet connection to flood a targeted system. DDoS attacks, on the other hand, use multiple computer units and internet connections to launch a full, massive flooding of a target business system. DDoS is much more lethal. It’s commonly used for globally wide attacks to disrupt larger and more established businesses online.
Bottom line: DDoS spells bad news. Your competitors can potentially send a DDoS attack on your business to disrupt your online operations. Once you do get DDoSed, you’ll have to hire a capable IT expert or programmer to help eradicate the issue. Else, your online business will suffer.
How to Prevent & Mitigate DDoS Attacks
According to Teskalabs, the number of DDoS attacks increases by 15% each year. The widespread DDoS attacks have resulted in awareness. Enterprises have come to realize that they have to tweak their online management and make the necessary changes to combat this global threat. According to Cisco, about 77% of enterprises claimed to have incorporated DDoS preventive measures in their business and IT operations. They believe that by optimizing their networks early on, they can prevent the possibilities of future DDoS attacks.
How You Can Fight Back
The first challenge in repelling DDoS is the initial diagnosis. It takes a keen eye to pinpoint the root of the DDoS problem. At first, an attack may look similar to any typical traffic spike in the company’s data network. It might seem normal, but IT experts are aware that something’s not right and will try to conduct a diagnosis to determine the exact state of a system.
You will then implement the following steps:
Step 1: Know what’s going on
To repel DDoS, it’s crucial that you are aware of the current setup and state of your servers and systems. This would require a detailed report log to ensure that you have sufficient information to determine the source of the issue and the scale of the attack. You can utilise SIEM (Security Information & Event Management), Log Management, Firewalls or IDS/IPS Technology.
Step 2: Choose The Ideal Strategy
After you’ve assessed and determined the source of the issue, you can now come up with a firm solution to mitigate the DDoS threat in your systems. You can do so by knowing the capabilities, challenges, and limitations of your computer hardware and utilize every bit of resource that you have. This step is where most businesses tend to fail. The reason is that business owners are unaware of how to configure their systems on their own. If you get stuck in this stage, get an IT expert to handle the situation so you can proceed with the next step.
Step 3: Respond to the Attack Immediately
Once you realize that you’re systems are being DDoSed; you respond immediately to the problem before it gets worse. That’s why you should have an active response strategy to react immediately to the problem. This includes the previous steps and all the people within the company who also need to be aware of the problem.
Step 4: Prevent It From Happening Again
After experiencing and overcoming a DDoS attack. The final thing you need to do is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. You’ve gone through the complexities and are fully aware of the street and hardships that an attack can bring not only to you but your company as a whole. That’s why you should make changes and incorporate anti-DDoS technologies and potent antivirus software to help prevent this issue from ever coming back. If your preventive measure still isn’t up-to-par with some of the most effective methods, then it’s time for you to make some upgrades on your existing technology or infrastructure.
BONUS: It would be a lot more beneficial if you hire or have a professional security team that knows exactly what to do with a DDoS attack. Trying to tackle a DDoS by yourself without proper knowledge might worsen the situation for you.
Prevention Tactic: Multi-layered Approach to Defend Your System Against DDoS
Just as fast as the mitigating procedures against DDoS are advancing, so are the attackers who are also growing in an ever evolving landscape of threat s. There are different types of DDoS attacks and defense systems. But, what is the best kind of system to defend your business against a DDoS attack? Experts suggest a multi-layered approach to set the best defense for protection. A hybrid solution to counter against all types of threat is considered the best practice.
A hybrid or multi-layered solution is one that integrates on-premise and cloud-based countermeasures. The system encompasses both identification and absorption abilities. Cloud-based protection is capable of mitigating externally sourced volume attacks and protection can extend beyond the perimeters of your system while on-premise protection is set to defend against threats from the inside. A multi-layered defense system can protect against three types of attacks: volume-based, protocol and application-based attacks.
The fight against DDoS attacks is on the rise and is encouraging more and more businesses to follow suit. With its constant rampage throughout different industries, the business world has already recognised it as a risk management issue. In turn, anti-DDoS technologies have been developed to help prevent and eradicate the DDoS threat. Businesses are starting to invest in these technologies to make their online operations much more efficient. These technologies fall under the three main categories:
- Automation – A DDoS threat can potentially drive automation in both Response & Analysis. It can land you the right solution to your DDoS problem.
- Visualization – Visualizing a DDoS attack can help you map out it’s potential targets within your system. You are able to spot and eradicate the holes in your system where a potential DDos attack can originate.
- Connectivity – Determining the strength and weakness of your connection within your systems will help pinpoint the sources of an attack and help you repel these passageways. It will also help strengthen your connections and ensure that it’s anti-DDos and malware.
Additional Solutions For Small- to Medium-Sized Business
Large companies are devoting substantial resources and expertise to manage their businesses. This has left small to medium businesses as the main targets for DDoS attacks. Fortunately, there are cost-effective methods that prevent DDoS attacks.
Because DDoS attacks mostly rely on malware that carries out their codes to infiltrate systems, the simplest and most effective prevention method is by installing anti-virus and malware applications and software on every computer machine within your network. It’s also vital that you choose the right antivirus software wisely and keep it up-to-date as much as you can. Do some research and make sure that you acquire the most potent one in the market.
In addition, you should also make sure that your employees are aware and cautious of their online activities. You should prohibit them from installing various kinds of applications or opening suspicious emails without consent. Viruses like DDoS can be hidden in even the most innocent of applications, such as email spam, online games, or free downloads. At the same time, you should also keep the number of devices connected to your business network down to a minimum.
The consequences of DDoS attacks are devastating. You lose revenue, customers, control over your online business, and you lose your credibility, and these are just some of the results to name a few. For these reasons, you should invest in a dedicated DDoS protection, as well as execute preventive measures, as effective hedges to fight DDoS. Prevent your business from losing its service availability. With proper DDoS-prevention strategies, you can win against DDoS and its rippling consequences.