Prevent DDoS Attacks: Essential Tips and Best Practices

Not only are DDoS threats becoming increasingly perilous, but the frequency of DDoS attacks is also on the rise. In a DDoS attack, a hacker overwhelms a network or server with fake traffic. This excessive traffic overloads the resources and disrupts the connection, preventing the system from handling real user requests.

What is a DDoS attack, and are there different DDoS types? How can businesses protect against or defend DDoS by using best security practices? Let's get started!


What is a DDoS Attack?


A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a deliberate endeavor to incapacitate a network or service, disrupting the normal flow of traffic to a targeted server by overwhelming the system with bogus internet traffic. In DDoS attacks, malicious actors inundate the targeted server with an excessive number of connection requests, messages, or data packets, ultimately resulting in system shutdown or crashes.

The objective of a DDoS attack is to infect IoT devices with malware. Attackers use botnets capable of launching attacks from remote locations. By generating disruptive requests to the network's IP address, the bots within a botnet overwhelm the network, potentially leading to a denial of service.


Here are the different reasons why hackers might pull off DDoS attacks:


  • Disrupt Services: Hackers use DDoS attacks to disrupt regular business operations, online communications, or services by overwhelming their systems.
  • Brand Damage: They can harm a company's reputation using DDoS attacks by causing downtime in the server, making people criticize the company's reliability.
  • Gain A Business Advantage: Some hackers target competitors with DDoS attacks, hoping to get an upper hand while their competition's services are down.
  • Distract or Divert Attention: During a DDoS attack, hackers might exploit the chaos to divert the company's attention and sneakily engage in other activities.


DDoS Attacks Types


There are three different categories of DDoS:

  • Application-layer
  • Protocol
  • Volumetric


Application-Layer


An application-layer attack concentrates on disrupting a particular application rather than an entire network. Cyber attackers inundate the target server with a significant influx of HTTP requests, surpassing its ability to handle them effectively. Cybersecurity experts often measure the consequences of such attacks by analyzing requests per second (RPS), with web applications, internet-connected apps, and cloud services frequently falling victim to these assaults. Handling a DDoS attack at the application layer poses complexity, primarily because distinguishing between authentic and malicious requests can be a challenging task. Application-layer attacks are resource-efficient, and some attackers can carry out such assaults with just a single device. This type of attack is commonly referred to as a "layer 7 attack" in the field of cybersecurity.


Protocol Attacks


Protocol DDoS attacks, often referred to as network-layer attacks, take advantage of vulnerabilities in internet communication protocols to impede the overall network's performance.

There are two main types of protocol-based DDoS attacks: first, SYN floods, disrupting the TCP/IP connection process by flooding the target with SYN packets, prompting synchronization requests instead of acknowledging connections. This effectively crashes the system as it awaits a connection that never comes, and the second is Smurf DDoS, which creates a crashing loop using false IP addresses.

The protocol-based attacks are measured in packets per second (PPS) or bits per second (BPS). They're prevalent due to their ability to bypass poorly configured firewalls.


Volumetric Attacks


This type is the most common DDoS attack type where a machine or network's bandwidth is trapped with spam data requests across all available ports. This type overwhelms the network or service, making it incapable of handling its usual traffic load. Volumetric attacks also have subcategories. The UDP (User Datagram Protocol) flood is the most prevalent subtype, frequently employed to dispatch manipulated UDP packets with fabricated addresses, such as the victim's IP address, to servers for UDP-based applications.


Why Should You Prevent DDoS?


There are multiple reasons why you need to prevent DDoS attacks, including the following:

Implement essential measures for the prevention of denial of service attacks. In this way, you can prevent your network from overloading or unusability during critical periods.

Establishing a robust strategy to prevent ddosing attacks, including the use of server DDoS guard, is time-intensive but offers enhanced peace of mind and benefits in terms of network security.

Incorporate mitigation techniques and early warning detection to support your organization’s cybersecurity posture effectively.


Top 7 Most Effective DDoS Prevention Methods


DDoS attack mitigation is a big problem, but by using proper security measures and planning, you can prevent ddosing. Let’s see how you can reduce the potential impact and risk of a DDoS attack.


Prepare a Countering DDoS Response Plan


You should be aware of the potential outcomes if a DDoS attack occurs, and your organization should have a mitigation strategy or counter-DDoS response plan to protect from DDoS. Crafting a proactive strategy in advance enables swift and practical responses when your network becomes a target.

Developing such a plan requires careful consideration, with the complexity of your infrastructure determining the depth of your DDoS response blueprint. Irrespective of your company's size, your plan should encompass the following elements:

  • Step-by-step instructions, escalation protocols, and notifications.
  • A detailed checklist for system tools.
  • Proficient response team that has deep knowledge about their responsibilities.
  • A list of internal and external contacts to apprise them of the attack.
  • Communication strategy encompassing all stakeholders, including customers and vendors.


Improve DDoS Protection for Server and Networks


It is essential to take some network security measures for stopping a DDoS attack endeavors. The effectiveness of an attack largely depends on the hacker having enough time to send group requests. Detecting a DDoS attack in its early stages becomes beneficial to controlling its impact.

Organization users should actively follow best security practices, encompassing actions like regular password updates, using secure authentication methods, and recognizing phishing threats.

In short, adopting suitable precautionary measures minimizes user errors within your organization that directly correlate to an elevated safety level, even in the face of an attack.


Create a Dedicated Server with DDoS Protection


When your organization uses different dedicated servers, it is a big challenge to attack all servers at a time. So, in this case, hackers need to launch DDoS attack requests for multiple servers. But, if an attacker successfully executes the DDoS attack on a single hosting server, the remaining servers will still be unaffected and perform their regular business operations.

To prevent network congestion or vulnerable single points, host servers in various regions across data centers and colocation facilities. Additionally, utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is beneficial because a CDN effectively distributes the load across multiple servers. In this way, your server will be able to defend against DDoS attacks.


Know the DDoS Attack Causes or Symptoms


Sudden network slowdowns and abrupt website service disorder can be indicative of a DDoS attack. Getting sudden unknown spam message requests is another symptom of DDoS attack risk. However, these are not the only indicators of such attacks.

Slow system performance, a surge of requests from a particular endpoint or page, system crashes, disabled connectivity, and the presence of unusual traffic stemming from a single IP address are all additional common signs of DDoS. Recognizing these signs is crucial as they may point to a DDoS attack targeting your network, necessitating immediate attention and countermeasures.


Monitor Suspicious Network Traffic


Monitoring your network traffic in real-time on an ongoing basis is a fundamental security practice, especially since you are well-acquainted with your organization's traffic patterns. When you identify any aberrant network behavior or indications of a DDoS attack, you can swiftly block the suspicious requests. Real-time monitoring empowers your organization to promptly identify the initiation of a DDoS attack, enabling you to take rapid action to thwart the attacks and mitigate their consequences.


Leverage Cloud Resources to Prevent DDoS


In countering DDoS attacks, on-prem hardware and software play an important role; however, moving to cloud-based infrastructure offers distinct advantages due to its scalability and capacity to handle significant volumetric attacks.

Businesses have two main options for implementing cloud-based DDoS protection: First, on-demand cloud DDoS mitigation that activates post-detection of a threat by the in-house team or provider. Second, an always-on cloud DDoS protection that channels all traffic through a cloud scrubbing center (with minor latency). This option suits mission-critical applications that cannot tolerate downtime.

There are several advantages associated with the choice to entrust DDoS prevention to a cloud provider. Cloud providers offer thorough cybersecurity solutions, which encompass the incorporation of strong firewalls and diligent threat monitoring software. The public cloud boasts superior bandwidth compared to private networks. Data centers ensure heightened network redundancy through data, system, and equipment replication.


Reduce Network Broadcasting


In DDoS, hackers send too many unusual requests to attack a device on your network. But, your cybersecurity team, who has enough capabilities, can counter DDoS attacks by reducing or limiting the network broadcasting between devices.


Conclusion


Within this article, we have elucidated methods by which businesses can thwart DDoS attacks and maintain a proactive stance against hackers. The security practices that we have mentioned above will help you mitigate DDoS attacks and let businesses recover quickly after an attack. However, make sure to implement them timely before it’s too late!

Blog