A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to interrupt regular traffic to a targeted server, service, or network by flooding the target site or its immediate vicinity with internet activity.
How does a DDOS attack operate?
A DDoS will create traffic by employing several other compromised computer systems by creating abrupt surge in traffic to your server, so legitimate traffic does not make it to the proper location or destination.
DDoS is executed by an interconnected system of internet-connected machines that are compromised. An attacker takes advantage of the compromised computers to create a DDoS.
When creating a DDoS attack, these compromised computers are called a bot. A conglomerate of bots is a botnet. After launching a botnet, the attacker may conduct an operation by sending commands to each bot. When the botnet targets a victim's network, each bot sends requests to the target's IP address, possibly overloading the server or network and triggering a denial-of-service to regular traffic.
How to Spot a DDoS Attack
The easiest way to identify a DDoS attack is when you notice that a site or a network is unusually slow or even unavailable. However, this does not mean you should always associate a dead network with a DDoS attack. Sometimes, there may be surges of legitimate traffic to your site, such as Black Friday shopping on ecommerce sites. A way to know if this traffic is nothing out of the ordinary is to use traffic analytics tools.
These are a few tells that can alert you that you are experiencing a DDoS attack:
- Unusual volumes of traffic coming from a single IP address or IP range
- A surge of traffic from users with a frequently occurring profile, such as device type, location, or internet browser version
- An inexplicable increase in the number of requests to a particular page or destination
- Unusual traffic trends, such as surges at unexpected times of day or patterns that appear to be abnormal
3 Ways You Can Protect Your Site From a DDoS Attack
1. Reduce Attack Surface Area
One of the key strategies for countering DDoS assaults is to narrow the set of systems and software that may be targeted in the attack, confining the attackers’ options, and enabling you to install safeguards in one location.
Make it a priority to avoid running or exposing unnecessary applications to the internet. Another alternative is using firewalls to control which traffic has access to your applications.
2. Make arrangements for scale
Two critical areas where you can mitigate the occurrence of DDoS are transit capacity and server capacity.
Let us look at them individually:
In the initial stages of designing your website, ensure that the hosting provider you select offers sizable internet connectivity so that your site can comfortably handle a large amount of traffic. Because DDoS creates an unexpected surge in traffic, when your application can handle a large traffic volume, there is a lower chance of DDoS making it unavailable or painfully slow.
You do not have to stop here. Another opportunity for protection is employing Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) and smart DNS resolution services. CDNs provide an extra element of network infrastructure for providing content and handling DNS requests from sites closer to your consumers.
It is critical that you can increase or decrease swiftly all of your computer resources. You can do this by deploying more computing resources or ones that provide features. The reason for this is that DDoS takes up many resources, and so being able to scale up or down your resources will increase your chances of handling the overwhelming traffic caused by DDoS.
Another strategy can be incorporating load balancers. These observe the state of your servers and constantly shift loads between them, so none is overwhelmed.
3. Install Firewalls to Protect Against Sophisticated Application Threats
Firewalls are an excellent way to fight and mitigate the threats posed by DDoS attacks. Firewalls will pick up on any suspicious activity or traffic and protect your site from being compromised.
A firewall constantly monitors both incoming and outgoing traffic and screens out traffic that seem malicious. Additionally, they will protect your application from hacks, intrusions, encrypted threats, and any blacklisted or untrusted networks.
While DDoS constitutes a significant concern for companies because they affect normal business operations and even compromise a company's data security, you can control the risk of their occurrence. For help on how to protect your site against a DDoS attack, get in touch with Halborn’s cybersecurity experts at [email protected].