With the growth of botnets, it’s compulsory to have a well-structured DDoS protection service today.
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack uses several 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 frequent types of attacks that your business may encounter.
This kind of application-layer attack targets 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 intensified with the payload traffic and is massive in comparison to the size of the request, hence overwhelming the service.
Making a DNS resolution unavailable can also disrupt an application, network or server.
To keep up with increasing growth and customer demands, most new-age businesses struggle with web resources inventory. New customer portals, payment gateways, application systems, marketing domains, 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 resources you want to be protected first?
Begin with specifying priorities and criticality of your web resources. For example, business and data-centric web assets should be under the critical bucket with 24/7 protection against all kinds of DDoS attacks.
A new priority bucket can be created for domains, networks, 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 DDoS attack layer, testing and fixing vulnerabilities should be a priority across the business. While volumetric attacks can hurt an establishment, vulnerabilities present hackers with other means to exploit.
Today, the market is flooded with tools 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 occurrence and the potency of these attacks on the 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.
It’s difficult to stop an application layer 7 DDoS attack. Traffic from such attacks mimic normal user behavior and requires application layer expertise for detection and mitigation. Layer 7 attacks are more likely to cause financial and reputational damage in comparison to layer 3 or 4 DDoS attacks.
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) or Layer 7 Firewall is the best defense against volumetric attacks. It thwarts 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 regular updates on exchanges taking place on your application or network. There are gigabytes of data flowing across multiple locations and observing it all at a single location provides an excellent view of anomalies.
Continuous monitoring of traffic flow 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. Based on Anomalies, botnet signatures, and suspicious behavior your cybersecurity team can flag traffic surges.
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 transactions 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. He was instrumental in building the product/service and technology team from scratch and grew it from ideation to getting initial customers with a proven/validated business model poised for scale. He has proven experience (10+ years) in the security industry and has held various mgmt/leadership roles in Product Development, Professional Services, and Sales during his time at Entrust Data card.