In a previous post regarding Enterprise DNS Solutions, I said I would go into DDoS so here goes. DDoS stands for distributed denial-of-service, a type of cyberattack that aims to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming it with a flood of internet traffic. DDoS attacks can be launched from multiple sources, such as compromised computers or devices that have been infected with malware and controlled remotely by an attacker. These sources are called bots or zombies, and a group of them is called a botnet. DDoS attacks can also come from nation states or territories in cyberwarfare.
DDoS attacks can have various motives, such as revenge, blackmail, hacktivism, taking down critical infrastructure or simply causing chaos. They can target any endpoint that is reachable through the internet, such as websites, online services, government entities, major companies, gaming platforms or even critical infrastructure. DDoS attacks can last for hours or even days, causing multiple disruptions and damages to the victim, companies and its users.
There are different types of DDoS attacks, depending on which layer of the network connection they target. Some common types are:
- Flood attacks: These attacks send a large number of packets or requests to the target, consuming its bandwidth or resources and preventing legitimate traffic from reaching it. Examples of flood attacks are SYN floods, UDP floods, ICMP floods and HTTP floods.
- Protocol attacks: These attacks exploit weaknesses or vulnerabilities in the network protocols, such as TCP, UDP or IP. They can cause server malfunctions, connection resets or resource exhaustion. Examples of protocol attacks are SYN-ACK floods, Ping of Death, Smurf and Fraggle.
- Application layer attacks: These attacks target the application layer of the network connection, such as HTTP, DNS or SMTP. They can mimic normal user behaviour and send malicious requests that overload the application server or service. Examples of application layer attacks are Slowloris, HTTP POST floods, DNS amplification and NTP amplification.
How to protect yourself from DDoS attacks?
DDoS attacks can be hard to prevent or mitigate, as they can come from many different sources and use various techniques. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk or impact of a DDoS attack:
- Use a reputable web hosting service: A web hosting service that has adequate bandwidth, security features and DDoS protection can help you handle normal and abnormal traffic spikes and filter out malicious requests.
- Implement load balancing: Load balancing distributes the incoming traffic across multiple servers or endpoints, reducing the load on each one and increasing the availability and performance of your website or service.
- Deploy a firewall: A firewall can block unwanted traffic and filter out potentially harmful packets or requests based on predefined rules or criteria.
- Monitor your network traffic: Monitoring your network traffic can help you detect any unusual patterns or spikes that may indicate a DDoS attack. You can use tools such as analytics software, security information and event management (SIEM) systems or intrusion detection systems (IDS) to analyse your traffic and alert you of any anomalies.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN): A CDN is a network of servers that cache and deliver your web content to users based on their geographic location. A CDN can improve your website’s speed, performance and security by reducing the distance between your users and your content, as well as by providing DDoS mitigation services such as scrubbing centres.
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