With the rise of botnets, a well-structured DDoS protection service is mandatory.
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack uses multiple compromised systems or other network resources to overwhelm an online service, making it unavailable.
Look at some important stats on the rise of these attacks:
Such attacks create massive business risks. And they are increasing in volume and frequency. Digital Attack Map provides daily visualization for such attacks globally.
Irrespective of the business size or location, DDoS security is mandatory today. Here are 7 best practices and a bonus most effective application DDOS protection tip $8 that will help you get started.
Your ability to identify the attack type before attackers is an integral part of the protection program. There are three common types of attacks that your business may encounter.
This kind of application layer attacks target an application with requests from multiple sources. Such attacks generate high volumes of the POST, GET or HTTP requests causing service downtime ranging from hours to weeks. Layer 7 is widely used to bring down e-commerce, banking and startup websites due to the low cost and ease of operation.
An attacker chokes the target server or network with open NTP or DNS with request traffic. This traffic on Layer 3 or 4 (Network or Transport) is amplified with payload traffic is massive in comparison to the size of the request, hence overwhelming the service.
Disrupting DNS resolution can also make an application, network or server unavailable.
To keep up with exponential growth and customer demands, most new-age businesses struggle with web resources inventory. New applications, systems, customer portals, marketing domains, payment gateways, and other resources are created and retired frequently. Are your web resources organized?
Create a database of all the web assets that you’d like to be protected from DDoS attacks, as an inventory sheet. It should contain network details, protocols in use, domains, number of applications, their use, last updated version, and so forth.
Are all the web resources equal? What are the assets that you’d want to be protected first?
Begin with defining priorities and criticality of your web resources. For instance, business and data-centric web resources should be under the critical bucket with 24/7 protection against all kinds of DDoS attacks.
You can create another priority bucket for networks, domains, applications and other services that are no longer in use. Move them out of the business operation network as soon as possible.
Irrespective of the layer of DDoS attack, testing and patching should be a priority across the business. While volumetric attacks can hurt any business, vulnerabilities provide hackers other means to exploit.
There are many tools available in the market that help you detect and defend critical web resources from DDoS attacks. It is important to understand that these tools fall under any of the distinct categories- Detection and Mitigation.
The frequency and strength of attacks on application layer have forced business owners to look beyond network options. The above-mentioned tools would fail to provide thorough protection against layer 7 attacks.
Layer 7 DDoS attacks are more difficult to stop. Traffic from such attacks mimic normal user behavior and requires application layer expertise for detection and mitigation. In comparison to Layer 3 or Layer 4 DDoS attacks, Layer 7 attacks are more likely to cause financial and reputational damage.
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) or Layer 7 Firewall is the best defense against volumetric attacks. It blocks malicious traffic trying to block vulnerabilities in the application. However, WAF such as AppTrana backs DDoS protection with round-the-clock monitoring from security experts to identify fake traffic surges and to block them without affecting legitimate traffic.
Traffic logs provide minute-to-minute updates on communications taking on your application or network. There are gigabytes of data streaming across multiple locations. And monitoring it all at a single location provides an excellent view of anomalies.
Continuous traffic flow monitoring and analysis will help your organization learn from historic attack data and attack patterns.
Moreover, centralized monitoring becomes even more critical in the application layer. Your cybersecurity team can flag traffic surges based on anomalies, botnet signatures, and suspicious behavior.
Central to most businesses today is applications. The major worry prompting businesses to take preventive steps against a DDoS attack is to protect their applications from going down. Also, DDoS attacks targeted at the application layer are increasing as the attacker’s goal for causing damage can be achieved with lesser compute resources and lesser time in a more targeted fashion by gearing the attack payloads at an application layer.
A WAF will inspect traffic at an application layer, raise alerts and block if there are volumes of malicious application payloads being sent to the application. Besides raising alerts, every block event can be a trigger to also take incrementally stronger defense posture and insights of other payloads coming from the same IP session and take more aggressive actions without worrying about False positives.
What makes application DDoS detection most challenging is payloads can be crafted such that each individual request looks perfectly legitimate but are bombarding the application and its CPU cycle by sending many of perfectly legitimate request. (example fill up a form and post it and force the backend application to spend CPU cycles on many such concurrent requests). To counter this, custom policies that can distinguish normal human transaction from an automated one can go a long way in countering application level DDoS attacks.
Need help protecting your business from DDoS attacks protection?
Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Indusface
Venky has played multiple roles within Indusface for the past 6 years. Prior to this, as the CTO @indusface, Venky built the product/service offering and technology team from scratch, and grew it from ideation to getting initial customers with a proven/validated business model poised for scale. Before joining Indusface, Venky had 10+ years of experience in security industry and had held various mgmt/leadership roles in Product Development, Professional Services and Sales @Entrust.