Distributed denial-of-service attacks are second to the category of denial-of-service attacks. In a DDoS attack, a botnet—a system of multiple devices connected online—targets a website to generate fake traffic.
Compared to other types of cyberattacks, your security is not at risk in a DDoS attack. Instead, the attack aims to prevent your website from being accessible to real customers or users. DDoS activities are also performed as smokescreen deception to carry out malicious activities by damaging the security perimeters of the websites.
No business can afford to be unprepared for such a debilitating attack. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into DDoS threats and describe how we prepare for multi-terabit attacks, so your website will stay-up and running.
DDoS is an abbreviation of distributed denial of service. In a DDoS attack, a group of devices from remote locations target the operations of a website. A DDoS attack primarily focuses on attacks that hinder a website's performance or change the default settings of network equipment (e.g., caching services, routers, or naming services). By damaging a website's performance, they hinder real user access and experience.
Many DDoS attacks don't benefit from open relays or default settings of the websites; instead, they take advantage of normal behavior and protocols run on the devices. A DDoS attacker modifies the normal function of network services that consumers trust and rely on.
DDoS attacks may occur as repeat assaults or short-attacks but can hinder the optimal function of websites for months, weeks, or days. It may also take businesses a long time to recover from a DDoS attack. Also, the inability of users to access the website can be destructive for organizations. A DDoS can damage consumers' trust, cause loss of revenue, and force companies to invest heavily in compensating reputation damage.
One of the key issues with DDoS attacks is challenging to identify. Most of the symptoms of a DDoS attack are similar to what we commonly experience online, including low browsing speed, low website performance, an inability to view the website, excessive spam or pop-ups, or dropped internet connection. Moreover, DDoS can last for a few minutes to a few months, depending on the extent of the damage done by an attacker.
A DDoS attack can be launched using various tools. The primary category of tools is known as "stressors." Network engineers and security researchers commonly use stressors to test their networks; however, stressors can also be exploited for real attacks.
In addition to stressors, there are specialized tools designed to exploit a specific layer in the OSI model. Furthermore, some tools allow multiple attack vectors, including:
Slow and low attack tools operate at a snail's pace and target a small volume of data. These tools transfer small data blocks over multiple connections to keep the targeted server's ports open for a maximum length of time, exhausting the server's resources and preventing it from maintaining real connections. Slow attacks can also be performed by a single machine and can be performed without a botnet.
These tools are designed to target servers with massive traffic, using protocols like UDP. These tools are individually ineffective but can be combined with other DDoS attack tools to maximize impact.
Application layer tools are designed to modify layer 7 of the OSI model. They target internet-based requests. Attackers use HTTP flood attacks to manipulate POST and GET requests. Application layer 7 makes it difficult for servers to distinguish requests from actual visitors and regular requests by launching fake traffic.
DDoS attacks are performed by businesses, individuals, and governments with different motivations. Businesses, individuals, and governments perform DDoS attacks with different motivations.
Hackers use DDoS attacks to express rebellion or criticism of different business or government decisions. Hacktivists who may disagree with a new business policy, political opinion, or a national plan can attack the website.
Cyber vandals are also known as script kiddies as they use tools or scripts to hurt fellow internet users. Cyber vandalism is often assumed to be teenagers seeking to take out their frustration or anger against a person, institution, or website.
One of the primary and most damaging reasons for DDoS attacks against corporations or big websites is extortion. An extortionist demands money to stop performing a DDoS attack. Many software companies, including Vimeo, MeetUp, and Bitly, have been victims of DDoS attacks, and some shut down their platforms, refusing to surrender to threats.
Another common reason DDoS attacks are performed to gain a competitive advantage through illegal means. Many assaults are performed to prevent competitors from growing or performing well with users. Many websites have been entirely shut due to business competition-based DDoS attacks.
DDoS mitigation services are essential to manage and protect the digital assets. Therefore, DDoS attacks must be prevented to ensure optimal functioning. Some key proactive points include:
Develop a security policy that mitigates DDoS attacks, i.e., conducting a regular network analysis to find attacked nodes. Timely cutting off the attacked node is essential to prevent the attack from spreading and disturbing the network operations.
The IT team of a company must be updated about the newest types of DDoS attacks to keep their network prepared for potential attacks. For instance, the PNC Bank and the Bank of America in 2012 by 60 Gbps. The banks had many preventative measures in place, but the latest methods of attacks were more sophisticated than the preventive measures, making it hard for the banks to handle the attacks.
In our fast-paced digital world, approaching technical experts for guidance and support to mitigate DDoS attacks is essential for companies. Companies need the hands-on experience of experts and in-depth knowledge of attacks to handle websites and networks. Therefore, to keep their networks secure, approaching experts is the best option for companies.