The last decade has seen a lot of individuals and businesses venture into the World Wide Web. With its vast outreach, ease of access, and a plethora of opportunities, the internet has caused a boom in the business and retail sectors. Merchants, vendors, small and medium business owners, as well as big brands are all a part of the global internet marketplace. But as good as all these sounds, there is a catch.
With the ever-increasing rate of cloud computing systems and virtual servers, a lot of valuable data and sensitive information is out there on the web.
This makes it an enticing target for hackers and phishers. There are around 200 million active sites which are a staggering amount in itself. This includes web sites of essential government organizations, financial institutions, banks, and other vulnerable entities.
It is imperative then that any website on the internet must have a robust and quick response security framework to protect it against hacking and cyber attacks.
One of the most disruptive and risky attacks is a DoS (Denial of Service) attack. As the name suggests, it is used to bring down a website by overloading its server with multiple requests and a much higher payload than it is equipped to handle.
As a result, the server hosting the website crashes, and the site is off the internet. This downtime results in severe financial losses, as well as the loss of customers as users can’t access your website. It also affects your company or organization’s reputation if your website refuses to load over a prolonged period.
What is DDoS Attack
A Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attack is even more difficult to mitigate because its source can’t be easily found.
As the name suggests, in a DDoS attack, multiple requests come from different IP addresses spread out or distributed all over the globe which makes it difficult to isolate the main point of attack.
Usually, DDoS attacks are executed by the so called “BotNets” which are hundreds or thousands of infected computers all over the world controlled by malicious individuals who “instruct” them to attack their victims.
Although most times DDoS attacks are merely made by business rivals, or hackers, or by social groups to send out a political message, sometimes these attacks are also used as a diversion tactic.
Hackers crash your site on purpose, and while your entire team is busy trying to get the site back up, they hack into your databases and steal valuable information like user passwords, bank details, financial information, etc.
DDoS Protection and Mitigation
DDoS attacks need to stop or at the very least, mitigated efficiently. There are a few DDoS protection measures that must be taken to protect your website from the deadly claws of a DDoS attacker. Let’s discuss them below.
First of all, you should procure a higher than required bandwidth connection for your website, so that it is capable of taking on high traffic and increased payloads without filling-up the whole communication “pipe”. This ensures that if you’re facing a DDoS attack of a small to medium intensity, say of 1 to 5 GB; your website will still function smoothly.
Secondly, make sure to continually monitor your website for anomalies or sudden spikes in traffic. One of the major issues here is trying to differentiate regular heavy traffic from a DDoS attack. It is indeed preferable that you hire a team of experienced system engineers who can spot such anomalies astutely, or outsource your website security to a reputed DDoS protection services vendor. Quick DDoS detection is the fastest way to mitigate the attack.
Thirdly, perform regular testing on your site at periodic intervals to check for vulnerabilities and threats. Note down the response times, areas of improvement, etc. and study and analyze the information thus obtained to implement changes and update the system to fortify security.
Now assuming that the attack happens, you must have an on-site response time ready to mitigate it. Fast, efficient response is the best way to combat a DDoS attack. Having a ready plan of action goes a long way in reducing downtime and getting your website back up and running.
It is important to remember that DDoS attacks also occur at the application layer level and affect your data over the cloud. Hence, it is prudent to install cloud security and protection to prevent such attacks. Network security protocols and web firewalls also act as a barrier between your data and potential hacking and phishing attacks.
In addition to this, as mentioned earlier, DDoS attacks are also a distraction tactic for stealing sensitive data. This being the case, it pays to have all your vital information stored in an offline database in a different data center, so that it remains safe and protected even when you’re under attack.
DDoS protection is fast becoming a dire necessity for all website owners. Being prepared, taking all the necessary precautions, and having a dedicated team equipped for a quick and efficient response, helps tremendously in minimizing the impact of a DDoS attack.
I actively follow developments in the field of digital marketing, health, business, technology, internet security such as DDoS Protection etc. And when I’m not brewing ideas in my mind, you can find me playing the violin or taking my motorcycle for a spin. Oh and I also love playing prank with my cat although I’m often at the receiving end.