Security, for any business today, is important; we, at HackerCombat, have already reported on the rising costs of IT security on the global level. More and more business today invest heavily in security; they have started realizing that without security, it’s almost impossible for any business to flourish in today’s circumstances.
We have arrived at a stage when businesses cannot handle security by simply relying on their ISPs. Proactive measures that businesses adopt for ensuring proper and better security really counts.
Businesses today are often targeted by DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, planned and executed by cybercriminals all the world over. Hence it becomes important that every business today is armed, in all ways possible, to combat DDoS attacks, in the most effective of manners. Let’s discuss how businesses can secure themselves against such attacks. Let’s begin by discussing how DDoS attacks happen and what they are, in the first place…
DDoS Attacks: An Introduction
The basic principle of a DDoS attack is this- a very large number of requests are sent from several points targeting a network or server, and that too in a very short span of time. This kind of bombardment causes an overload on the server, which consequently leads to the exhaustion of its resources. The obvious result is that the server would fail and sometime would even become inaccessible, thereby causing a total denial of service, hence the name Distributed Denial of Service attack.
The main issue, however, is not that the server or network becomes inaccessible; on the other hand, it pertains to the security of the data stored in the network. A DDoS attack makes a server vulnerable and hackers can penetrate the information system and cause huge losses to the business that’s targeted. The cybercriminals behind a DDoS attack can thus make big money at the expense of the company that’s targeted.
The motives behind DDoS attacks vary; such attacks could be carried out for political or financial gains, while some such attacks would have retaliation as the sole purpose. Those who look for political gains would target those who hold contradicting political, social or religious beliefs. Crippling them through a well-planned and well-executed DDoS attack would be the motive here. Retaliatory attacks happen when a botnet or a large cybercriminal network is dismantled and those who stood by the authorities need to be targeted. DDoS attacks that are carried out for financial gains follow a simple pattern. Those who want a business targeted would hire the services of cybercriminals who would carry out the DDoS attack. The hackers are paid for the work they do.
Well, irrespective of the motive, the end result for the business that’s targeted is always the same. The network and online services become unavailable, sometimes for a short period and sometimes for a really long period of time, and data security also is at risk.
How to protect a business from DDoS attacks
ISPs may offer layer 3 and layer 4 DDoS protection, which would help businesses save themselves from many volumetric attacks. But most such ISPs fail when it comes to detecting small, layer 7 attacks. That’s why it’s said that businesses should not depend on their ISPs alone for protecting themselves against DDoS attacks. They should be set to implement measures that ensure comprehensive protection against DDoS attacks. Here’s a look at the different things that need to be done to combat DDoS attacks in the most effective of manners:
Go for a good solution provider- There are many service providers who provide Layer 3, 4 and 7 protection against DDoS attacks. There are providers of all kinds, ranging from those that offer low-cost solutions for small websites to those that provide multiple coverages for large enterprises. Most of them would offer custom pricing option, based on your requirements. If yours is a large organization, they would offer advanced layer 7 discovery services with sensors to be installed in your data center. Well, always go for a good provider of security solutions, as per your needs.
Always have firewall or IPS installed- Modern firewall software and IPS (Intrusion Prevention Systems) claim to provide a certain level of protection against DDoS attacks. The New Generation Firewalls offers both DDoS protection as well as IPS services and thus would suffice to protect you against most DDoS attacks. There, of course, are some other aspects that need to be kept in mind. Your New Generation Firewall might get overwhelmed by volumetric attacks and might not even suffice for layer 7 detections. Similarly, enabling DDoS protection on your firewall or IPS could even impact the overall performance of your system/network in an adverse manner.
Use dedicated appliances that fight DDoS attacks- Today, there are many hardware devices that protect you from DDoS attacks. Some of these provide protection against layer 3 and 4 attacks while some advanced ones give protection against layer 7 DDoS attacks. Such appliances are deployed at the main point of entry for all web traffic and they monitor all incoming and outgoing network traffic. They can detect and block layer 7 threats. There are two versions of these hardware solutions- one for enterprises and the other for telecom operators. The ones for enterprises are cost-effective ones while the ones for providers are too expensive. Investing in getting such hardware appliances would always be advisable. It’s always good to go for devices that use behavior-based adaptation methods to identify threats. These appliances would help protect from unknown zero-day attacks since there is no need to wait for the signature files to be updated.
Remember, for any organization, big or small, it’s really important today to be prepared to combat DDoS attacks. For any organization that has a web property, the probability of being attacked is higher today than ever before. Hence, it’s always good to stay prepared. Prevention, as they say, is always better than cure!