We live in a world where foreign governments are routinely accused of cyber meddling to subvert democratic elections. Is anyone surprised that an authoritarian government is blamed for a massive DDoS attack that shut down Telegram – a key social media channel used to organize dissent and protest?
What is perhaps surprising in this case, is that the social media channel was Telegram, famous for being the most secure messaging app. Telegram’s security is based on encryption, distributed servers, and an optional message self-destruction feature. So, the content of your messages on Telegram should be pretty safe.
BUT if the service is unavailable, all that security is useless. That’s the sinister beauty of DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service. When a DDoS attack floods your network, overwhelming your infrastructure – with up to Terabits per Second of garbage data – it doesn’t matter how secure your service is. Nobody can access it.
DDoS isn’t only about denial of service. Sometimes it’s used as an enabler for other cybercrimes. While services (including aspects of network security) are down, other malicious software may be infiltrated into your network devices resulting in massive data breaches, ransomware, theft of IP and more.
DDoS Attacks: Bad and Getting Worse
DDoS is here and it’s not going away! It seems that every month we hear about a new, record-breaking DDoS attack—and it’s not surprising that many types of DDoS attacks are referred to as floods—there is even one called a Tsunami—because their impact is overwhelming. They marshal a bot army of infected network devices to inundate and flood network resources, including elements such as firewalls that are intended to ensure network security.
How will 5G affect DDoS attacks?
5G holds a lot of promise for improved communications but may well worsen the DDoS nightmare. 5G’s anticipated exponential spread of high-speed bandwidth and connected IoT means that in addition to widespread motivation, easily available attack tools, and proliferating IoT attack sources, dramatically bigger attacks will be possible because the “5G highway” will have many more lanes to enable vastly higher rates of traffic—both good and bad. In the words of Brijesh Datta, the CSIO of Reliance Jio, “5G’s bandwidth will easily flood servers…with 5G, every individual would have a 1 Gbps worth of bandwidth, thereby attacks would become more drastic.”
What should service providers do to secure their network against DDoS attacks?
In a whitepaper focused on service providers, but equally applicable to enterprises, Frost and Sullivan stress the following points:
- “…service providers may be better served by high-performance DDoS mitigation appliances with sufficient scalability to eliminate attacks, inline and in real time”
- “An inline solution that provides DPI-based policy control capabilities ensures that firewalls and other security infrastructure are protected and functional at all times.”