Categories: DDoS

5 Best Practices to Prevent DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks are much more common that one imagines. According to data, the total number of DDoS attacks in 2018 has already been surpassed in H1 2019 itself. Data also suggests that DDoS attacks larger than 100 Gbps in size increased by over 960% in Q1 2019 in comparison to Q1 2018. The nature of such attacks is getting more sophisticated with the accelerated development of technology and the ability of malicious actors to leverage it. Today, these attacks can be orchestrated within minimal computing resources and many are as small as 1 Gbps in size! As a result, simply increasing the network bandwidth will not prevent DDoS attacks.

Considering the increasingly devious and complicated nature of these attacks, how to prevent DDoS attacks effectively? Here is a list of best practices to follow for DDoS attack prevention.

1. Multi-layered DDoS protection

Earlier DDoS attacks were mostly Layer 3 or 4 – volumetric attacks that would attack the network or transport layers. Today, DDoS attacks are of many different types and each type targets a different layer (network layer, transport layer, session layer, application layer) or combination of layers. So, you should take a multi-layered and intelligent approach towards DDoS detection, mitigation and protection as well. In other words, your DDoS mitigation solution must give you multiple layers of protection against all types of DDoS attacks, not just volumetric ones.

2. Early detection and continuous traffic & packet profiling

As they say, “A stitch in time saves nine.” Early detection is critical and indispensable when it comes to preventing DDoS attacks. There are several ways it can be done but one of the most important ways is continuously monitoring website traffic, requests and data packets to understand patterns, nature, etc. and blocking malicious/ bad traffic, requests, and payload.

An intelligent, managed and comprehensive WAF combined with an automated scanner, customized workflows & rules and security analytics – such as AppTrana – will enable you to stay ahead of the bad actors. When such a WAF is placed at the network perimeter, it ensures that all requests go through it. Based on the customized rules that the certified security experts design and tune it with, it allows, blocks, challenges or flags requests. Based on the analytics, the certified security experts continuously monitor and profile the traffic and data packets and will tune up the security to prevent DDoS attacks.

3. Reduce attack surface exposure

By reducing the surface area that is exposed to attackers, you are essentially minimizing scope/ options for them to orchestrate DDoS attacks. So, protect your critical assets, application, and other resources, ports, protocols, servers and other entry points from direct exposure to attackers. There are a number of strategies that can be used to minimize attack surface exposure:

  • Onboarding on a CDN service coupled with a WAF placed on the network edge will restrict the direct access to the server and application resources. All content is cached and stored in caching servers across the globe and requests serviced only from them. Un-cached content requests must pass through the WAF which filters out bad requests.
  • Leveraging load balancers to protect web servers and computational resources from exposure by placing them behind it.
  • Keeping the application/ website clean by removing any unrelated/ irrelevant services, unnecessary features, legacy systems/ processes, etc. that are often leveraged by attackers as points of entry.

4. Fortify the network architecture

Robust and resilient network architecture is key to preventing volumetric/ network-level DDoS attacks. You must fortify your network architecture in a way that it is able to handle any traffic spikes or thundering surges without downtimes or crashes or service disruptions. Buying more bandwidth is often suggested as an option. However, we have already discussed, it is not an effective solution. Onboarding on a CDN service helps you to leverage the globally dispersed network and build redundant resources, capable of handling sudden volumetric traffic spikes.

5. Comprehensive security solution, not just DDoS attack prevention

It is crucial to building robust DDoS attack prevention and incidence response plan, but it is not sufficient. When your application/ website has security loopholes and weaknesses, it will provide gateways for attackers to orchestrate attacks. Your security solution must be holistic and intelligent providing instantaneous and always-on protection. It must be custom designed with surgical accuracy and provide access to certified security experts who continuously tune it to keep your website/ application always available.

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