6 Ways to Protect Your Networks Against DDoS Attacks
6 Ways To Protect Your Networks Against Ddos Attacks

A DDoS attack can happen to anyone.

In the past, it has hit Twitter, Telegram, GitHub, and the BBC. Whole governments, like those of Ecuador and Estonia, have had their websites knocked out by it. 

This is not a rare threat. Every year, numerous organizations suffer from targeted DDoS attacks, launched at them by malicious agents from unknown locations. It causes their websites and networks to shut down and makes them lose millions of otherwise productive hours.

That’s a lot of revenues foregone. In the United States alone, businesses lose $10 billion annually because of these incidents. And with these attacks growing in other parts of the globe, there’s reason to be wary of the threat that they pose.

Your organization could be at risk, regardless of where you are.

But what are DDoS attacks? How do they work?

What is a DDoS Attack?

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is a type of DoS attack.

In a DoS attack, a malicious agent attempts to overwhelm their victim’s networks with fake traffic. For instance, they could send a lot of false requests to the victim website. The aim here is to stuff the network so much that people with real requests cannot get through to the website.

A regular DoS is launched from a single user device. But in a DDoS, the human agent gains access to several devices (PCs or smartphones) by infecting them with malware, and use those devices (collectively called a ‘botnet’) to flood the victim’s network with fake requests.

When a network comes under attack in this way, its servers will either fail to perform optimally or crash.

What are the Types of DDoS Attacks?

There are two general groups of attacks in this category:

Network Layer Attacks: this aims to clog up the pathways connecting your network. They make it difficult for genuine traffic (from customers or non-malicious visitors) to access the affected organization.

The scale of these attacks is measured in Gigabytes per second (Gbps). Assaults of several hundred Gbps have been reported, but anything above 20Gbps could knock out your network. 

Application Layer Attacks: In this case, the attacker sends requests that require considerable resources to handle. They cause the victim’s disk spaces and CPU to fill up with false logs.        

What Motivates DDoS Attacks?

Here are the most common reasons why attackers launch DDoS assaults.

Extortion: They may ask you for a ransom in exchange for ceasing their attacks.

Cyber-Activism: Also known as ‘hacktivism’. Certain groups strike at organizations that they believe aren’t aligned with their cause (e.g. if they think the organization has a bad social or environmental record).

Competition: A competitor may be responsible for a DDoS attack launched at your business.

Lone Attackers: Some people may do this for other reasons, e.g. gaining the respect of a community of illegal hackers.

How Do You Protect Against DDoS Attacks?

You wouldn’t want to waste days recovering from a DDoS strike, or lose substantial amounts of money in that period. Here are some steps you can take to prevent this from happening:

1. Design a Response Plan for DDoS Attacks

Document a response strategy for a DDoS attack. This should include ways to ensure business continuity even when a DDoS attack succeeds. Assign roles (for instance, a rapid response team) and establish communication systems that can be activated if this happens. 

2. Guard Against Other Threats to Your Networks

Many cyber attackers are now using DDoS as a diversionary tactic. They could keep IT teams engaged with a DDoS strike, while they launch malware at your systems. This calls for vigilance on your part. Don’t be so preoccupied with fending off a single threat that you forget to guard other posts.

3. Track Your Traffic

Use monitoring tools to track traffic. Monitor for possible spikes in incoming network traffic, and keep an eye on suspicious IP addresses when you spot them. Note that sudden, sharp, and unexplained rises in traffic could be a sign that an attacker is ‘testing’ your defenses. If the threat isn’t checked at this early stage they may follow up with a major DDoS attack.

This measure isn’t enough to keep malicious agents away. But it does let you prepare for a possible strike against your network infrastructure. 

4. Set Up Network Security

You should have a combination of network security tools in place to protect against these strikes. These include firewalls, content filtering, anti-spam, and load balancing. Taken together, these should give you a moderate buffer against malicious traffic.

5. Update Your Systems

Your old systems could have vulnerabilities in them that DDoS attackers could exploit. By updating your system, you gain access to the newest defenses that your IT service providers have to offer and stay a step ahead of the vandals.

6. Work with an IT Security Solutions Provider

Unless you have a big, five-star in-house IT team, even your best efforts may fail to ward off a DDoS attack. That’s why you need to work with an IT security services company that takes on this task and delivers at the highest level.

If you’re in Nigeria, you can trust Layer3 to secure your networks against security threats. It provides this service to clients in several industries, including some of the country’s top organizations.

Conclusion

Denial-of-service attacks are becoming more frequent. It’s one unsavory consequence of an interconnected world—ill-intentioned actors can target victims from wherever they are in the world. Unless you have the right defenses and mitigating strategies, you may suffer major losses from these assaults.

Thankfully, there’s help you can use. At Layer3, our team of experienced cybersecurity professionals can help you guard against these threats. Whether it’s testing and vulnerability assessment, log management, incidence response, or a fully managed security service, you’ll get the protection that suits your needs.

Would you like to get a robust defense against DDoS and other cyberattacks? Get in touch with us today via the contact channels here.

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