Today, it is too easy for even novice threat actors to orchestrate DDoS attacks. DDoS tools and services are available for hire for as low as USD 5. But organizations facing these attacks end up with costs to the tune of USD 218,000 even without factoring in the ransomware costs.
All this is preventable with the right DDoS protection techniques and an effective anti-DDoS solution. Even if the attacks are successful, the right DDoS protection techniques will help you minimize the impact and make your services available in a much shorter duration. We explore these techniques in the article.
7 Key DDoS Protection Techniques
1. Know and Continuously Monitor Your Traffic
One of the most important DDoS protection techniques is to know and continuously monitor your incoming traffic. To this end, you need to create a baseline of what is normal traffic for your internal network/ website/ application through traffic pattern analysis and update it regularly. So, when there is unusual activity, you will know and be better equipped to stop attacks.
You must continuously monitor traffic and engage in granular traffic analysis. Intelligent anti-DDoS protection solutions are capable of 24×7, real-time traffic monitoring and examining individual packets before deciding which requests should be accepted. Equipped with threat intelligence, analytics, attack history, and reports, they decide whether a request should be accepted, blocked, flagged, or challenged intelligently based on in-depth patterns and behavioral analysis.
2.Know Warning Signs
Another key DDoS defense technique is to be aware of the warning signs as they help you to preempt and effectively stop attacks before they spiral out of control. Common symptoms include:
- Poor connectivity
- Network slowdown
- Website crashes and downtimes
- Poor performance
- Too many requests for a particular page/ endpoint
- Unusual traffic spikes coming from a single/ small group of IP addresses
- Traffic spikes originating from users with a common profile (same location, system model, web browser version, etc.)
More importantly, your employees need to be aware of these warning signs so they can report them instantly.
3.Plan for Scale and Volume
The idea behind DDoS attacks is to flood websites/ networks with voluminous requests to drain resources and make the website/ network unavailable to genuine users. So, you must strengthen your transit and server capacities, making it highly scalable through measures such as:
- Increasing the bandwidth
- Moving to the cloud for easier scalability of bandwidth
- Using load balancers
- Deploying smart DNS resolution services
- Using CDN
- Extensive network interfaces, etc.
Building a scalable and resilient IT architecture is key to protecting against Layer 3 and 4 DDoS attacks.
CDN or a Content Delivery Network geographically disperses the network with edge servers. With caching, it strengthens the speed, agility, security, and performance of web applications in servicing content requests while reducing latency.
They ensure that requests do not go directly to the origin server but are served through the caching servers, so your server remains secure. If the content requested isn’t cached, the CDN fetches the content from the origin server and caches it for the future. It helps reduce the attack surface too. With built-in redundancies, CDN services are highly scalable and can handle any thunderous traffic surges without having to spend exorbitantly on increasing the bandwidth.
5.Build Custom Rules
Another key DDoS protection technique is the customization of security. Rules that are custom-built with contextual awareness and real-time intelligence are more effective at stopping DDoS attacks than generic rulesets. You must consider rate-based rules for limiting requests per client, CAPTCHA challenges to eliminate bot traffic, geo-limiting requests, and workflow-based custom rules to fortify security.
6. Place WAF on the Network Perimeter
To prevent the more sophisticated and targeted Layer 7 DDoS attacks that don’t rely on volume, you need to place an intelligent, managed, next-gen WAF (Web Application Firewall) like AppTrana on the network perimeter. Equipped with intelligent automation, real-time insights, security analytics, and granular traffic analysis capabilities, they can monitor traffic, secure vulnerabilities instantly, and keep hardening the security posture.
7. Fear the Worst and Have an Updated DDoS Response Plan
Organizations that think they are too small to be DDoS-ed end up having a lackadaisical approach to security and several vulnerabilities, making them attractive targets. So, you need to fear the worst and must develop robust DDoS response plans and keep updating them. The incident response plan must include the following:
- Step-by-step instructions on how to react
- Measures to keep operations going
- Technical competencies needed
- Checklist of tools needed
- Internal and external expertise necessary
- Systems checklist that includes a list of mission-critical assets
- Well-defined escalation protocols
- List of all internal and external stakeholders who need to be informed about the attack along with a communication plan for the same
DDoS attacks are easy and cheap for attackers while leaving the targeted organization with massive costs and a damaged reputation. By implementing the above-mentioned DDoS protection techniques, you can keep DDoS attacks and their debilitating impacts at bay.