DDOS Attack: What To Do When Your Software Is at Risk
Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attacks have increased in the past number of years, with those targeted ranging from big-name banks to the unsuspecting website owner which someone wishes to silence. A mere $150 can make for a week-long DDoS attack on the black market and over 2,000 DDoS attacks are observed daily around the world.
So what exactly is the meaning behind DDoS attacks and how can it affect you? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about DDoS.
What is DDoS?
DDoS meaning, by definition, is “A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which refers to an attack in which multiple compromised computer systems attack a target, such as a server, website or other network resource, and cause a denial of service for users of the targeted resource. The flood of incoming messages, connection requests or malformed packets to the target system forces it to slow down or even crash and shut down, thereby denying service to legitimate users or systems.”
Whilst many of us hear of DDoS attacks on the news targeting big-time organizations, this threat has become all too common and is used to exact revenge for online activism purposes, to conduct extortion or even in order to wage cyberwar.
Flooding a website with traffic in order to disrupt its operations can be incredibly damaging for businesses and they are becoming a lot harder to detect, with the US being the third most targeted country in terms of DDoS threats.
“Adversaries conducting DDoS attacks spend increasing effort to make their attacks look more and more like legitimate ‘flash mobs’ in an effort to elude automated defenses; this creates an ever-escalating arms race to automate the manual analysis that often goes into assessing whether an event was an attack or legitimate traffic due to an unplanned event.”
The shocking statistic is that one in five businesses have a chance of being hit, with a few hours of downtime predicted for their website. However, 9% of those attacks will face a period of two days to a week of going down, and even more shockingly, 7% of DDoS attacks have lasted for weeks on end.
“Businesses have to re-evaluate their perception of a DDoS attack,” said Evgeny Vigovsky, head of Kaspersky DDoS protection at Kaspersky Lab. “The report clearly shows that the damage scope from such attacks goes far beyond the temporary downtime of a corporate website. Companies report total disruption to their operations, and in some cases—loss of sensitive data.”
Small businesses on average have recovery bills of more than $50,000 on average when a DDoS attack hits, but it is still seen as too expensive to implement a mitigation strategy for most.
“Today’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies enable us to identify anomalous traffic and patterns, correlate data across systems, and perform behavioral analytics on users and entities, said Rodney Joffe, Neustar Senior Vice President, Technologist, and Fellow. “But none of these systems function without professionals who know how to deploy them, interpret their data, identify the existence and location of problems, and mitigate them.”
How to Avoid a DDOS Attack?
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent DDoS attacks. The truth is that cybercriminals are out there all the time planning their next attack, but there are ways that you can spot an oncoming attack which you should keep in mind.
One way to spot an oncoming attack is to keep track of your online traffic. By observing your traffic and looking for any abnormalities which include things like unexplained spikes in traffic as well as visits from bizarre IP addresses and geolocations, you may discover hackers doing test runs. This is done in order to test your defenses before they put their plan into action.
A lot of the time, hackers are known to boast about their future plans on the internet. Keep an eye out on social media platforms for anyone that seems to be criticizing your work and hinting at an upcoming attack.
Preparing a response strategy that is effective and rapid, as well as getting other people familiar with that strategy is key. This is not just for your IT professionals, but for all the employees within your working environment.
To do this, you will need to uncover which infrastructure assets need to be protected. Does your business have single points of failure, as well as what is required to take down those soft spots? Think about how and when you could be targeted and what might be the impact of this attack.
Communicating with employees and the public soon after a DDoS attack is critical for reputational preservation. “You want to be sure operational people, for instance, can reach the decision-makers or have the authority to make decisions when a site goes down.”’
It will mean different things for different businesses. Those running a large commercial website will probably want always-on protection to make sure that their website doesn’t crash for days on end. On the other hand, a law firm will want to protect its infrastructure which includes things like FTP servers and email servers.
“This trend is rather worrying for businesses. Many are well protected against high volumes of junk traffic, but DDoS attacks on the application layer require them to identify illegitimate activity even if its volume is low. We, therefore, recommend that businesses ensure their DDoS protection solutions are ready to withstand these complex attacks.”
The best possible way to effectively protect yourself from these types of attacks is to invest in a great antivirus. Antivirus software will be one of the primary ways to prevent DDoS attacks.
What you need to look for is an antivirus program that is easy to implement and that will not need any changes to be made to your applications or your hosting provider.
The best antivirus software for DDoS attacks will be able to stop attacks by screening out false traffic, all whilst allowing your legitimate users to enjoy uninterrupted access to your site. With comprehensive protection against zero-day DDoS attacks, spoofing, brute force attacks, and those targeting DNS servers, your online security will be taken care of.
What to Do if Your Software is Attacked
The earlier you take action after you identify a DDoS attack, the easier you will be able to contain the harm. It’s best for businesses big and small to use suitable technology which will help you in recognizing large spikes in network traffic and a DDoS threat.
If a DDoS attack does happen to you, it is best to communicate this to your Internet Service Provider as soon as possible so that you can see whether your online traffic can be re-routed at all. Another good idea is to have a backup ISP as well.
ISPs will use tools such as Black Hole Routing, which will direct traffic into a null route which they refer to as a black hole as soon as there is an abundance of traffic in order to keep the targeted site from crashing completely. The only problem with this is that both your illegitimate and your legitimate traffic are sent to the black hole, which isn’t ideal, to say the least.
Always run a full scan of your computer and make sure than any detected threats are completely cleaned out of the operating system. You should have firewalls configured to reject any false traffic. Additionally, keep your routers and firewalls upgraded with any of the latest updates and security patches which will keep your initial line of defense.
Your AV should have an attack mode, meaning that you will be able to log into your AV account or open up its interface and select however many websites you have that need protection. Within the settings tab of your firewall in the security section, you should find an option that reads something similar to I’m Under Attack.
Some experts believe that the answer lies in the cloud. ‘”Responding to this new reality, and requires actionable continuous monitoring and analysis against real-time threat intelligence, and constantly evolving incident management scenarios.” The answer lies in the cloud. “Cloud-based mitigation is achieved either by redirecting your traffic during an assault or having it always go through a cloud service,” says Warner. “An always-on type of approach can also be achieved through a hybrid solution that provides mitigation resources on-site; if they begin to be overwhelmed, a failover to a cloud service is immediately activated.”
Another fantastic way to handle the influx of traffic is to use automated client communications. In the midst of a DDoS attack, you can be sure that you will be hit with things like emails, social media complaints, and many phone calls. In order to manage this, you will want to make things easier by automating your communications.
You should also clear your logs as soon as possible. Your servers and firewalls will be straining to log each DDoS request, making them susceptible to failure due to the large volume of malicious activity. The worst thing is that as soon as one fails, it can actually cause a domino effect spanning all the linked systems. Make sure to trash your logs as soon as you uncover a DDoS attack, as none of that information will be useful to you anyway.
After a DDoS attack occurs, make sure to communicate this as transparently as possible with your customers. Create an incident report and honestly explain what happened, as well as which steps your business took to respond. Within the report, you might want to include how you might prepare for a possible DDoS attack in the future. Make sure to use understandable language that everyone can grasp, particularly in the beginning.
Ask the right questions as soon as the smoke clears, so you can set yourself up for the future. Who do you think might be behind this sort of attack? Was it a case of someone making a statement, or do you think it was a random case of cyber vandalism? Be sure to remember that many DDoS attacks are carried out by competitors or even those that are personal rivals of the company’s founder.
Now that you have survived a DDoS attack and have asked to right questions, you will be prepared for any possible threats in the future. It should be your priority to plan ahead and prevent a possibly bad situation from becoming completely chaotic. Panicking over the issue will never solve anything and will most likely mean that you might make some terrible decisions.
This is why having a clear cut, simply laid out plan is essential. If you do find yourself in the midst of a DDoS attack, take a minute and gather your thoughts. This situation might not be ideal, but it will pass and it’s not permanent. Be sure to make informed decisions and take action to make sure your situation is resolved as quickly as it can.
Conclusion to DDOS Meaning
DDoS attacks are more and more common these days although many large organizations have been targeted in the past, and because the number of attacks is growing, small businesses are more vulnerable than ever before. Creating a huge influx of traffic to your website and social media accounts can mean that your online communication can fail for days, if not weeks at a time.
The primary way of keeping a DDoS attack from happening is to invest in reliable antivirus software that will keep your business threat-free. Another important step to take is to make sure you have a ready plan in place, which all employees are familiar with. Be sure to think of how a DDoS attack could impact your business, and how you can plan for the best possible outcome should this attack occur.