Whether you’re running a company brochure site, an e-commerce platform, or just a personal blog, online crime is a real present danger to web admins. One of the most common and potent types of cyberattacks is distributed denial of service, or DDoS for short.
DDoS attacks are damaging because they can grind a network service or connectivity to a halt in seconds, completely disabling services for users.
Perhaps the worst attack occurred in 2016 on Domain Name System (DNS) provider Dyn, which rendered popular, well-known services including Twitter, the New York Times, Airbnb, Amazon, and PayPal redundant for several hours during three separate assaults over a day.
All web services are prone to suffering a DDoS attack.
It would be folly to think DDoS attacks are just aimed at industry-leading players. Rather, cybercriminals can target everything from the smallest hobbyist website right up to global service providers.
Indeed, in the first half of 2020 alone, it was estimated there were 4.83 million DDoS globally—a 15% jump on the previous year. Therefore, if your website hasn’t already experienced a DDoS attack, chances are that it will at some point in the future.
Basic security steps to protect against a DDoS attack
As with most things in life, knowledge is power, and understanding what DDoS is and how an attack works will help you identify potential problem areas with your current setup.
Check online for resources to have DDoS explained so you can recognize the risks of an attack and the methods most commonly employed by cybercriminals. Meanwhile, below are some relatively simple precautions you can take to mitigate the risks posed by DDoS.
#1. Recognizing the characteristics of DDoS assaults
Describe in detail what a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is, how it operates, and why it is so dangerous for people or businesses. Talk about the many DDoS attack types, including protocol, application layer, and volumetric assaults.
#2. Identifying indicators of an impending attack:
Describe the typical warning indicators that may point to the impending arrival of a DDoS assault.
Draw attention to unusual network traffic patterns, elevated latency or performance slowdowns on websites, and abrupt surges in incoming requests as major warning signs of an approaching DDoS assault.
Stress the need to keep an eye on network traffic and put in place efficient traffic analysis tools in order to quickly identify and address these indicators.
Mention how important it is to keep up with the most recent DDoS attack trends and strategies in order to better predict and stop these kinds of assaults.
#3. Have a clear plan of action for dealing with a DDoS attack
DDoS attackers typically strike quickly, leaving little time for ad hoc planning. So instead, think ahead about what steps you’ll take and who you’ll need to contact in the event of an attack (for example, your hosting company, relevant data centers, your IT security provider, etc.).
It would be best if you also thought about how you’d inform your clients of an attack to reduce any damage to your firm’s reputation.
#4. Audit your current network infrastructure
At a minimum, you should ensure your web services have a firewall, anti-spam protection, and load balancing. Also, partnering with a cloud-based provider will offer increased peace of mind should you become the target of an attack.
System engineers who have received special training in identifying DDoS attacks and staying up-to-date with current online criminal tactics operate cloud services.
You should also ensure your systems are up-to-date and running the latest versions of software and, where possible, have backup servers ready to deal with the additional load caused by an attack (ideally located in different places geographically).
#5. Be aware of the typical warning signs
If you experience network slowdowns or intermittent problems reaching your website, there is a chance you may be suffering a DDoS attack and should investigate further. An increase in spam emails can also be a sign of an attack.
#6. Practice basic network security
While there is no sure-fire way to prevent a DDoS attack, sensible security measures like using alphanumeric passwords (and changing them regularly), employing anti-phishing protection, always using a secure firewall, and connecting via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help reduce the risks.
None of these measures will stop a DDoS attack entirely, but they will nonetheless help minimize the dangers when you’re online. It would be best to use multi-layer security and keep a close eye on your network and website to ensure the early detection of any problems.