DoS and DDoS attacks are all over the news and becoming more sophisticated by the year. In case you haven’t heard of them yet, DoS stands for ‘denial of service’. This type of attack usually consists of a massive amount of requests sent to a website to view its pages all at the same time. This overwhelms the system with data and causes it to crash or become inoperable. As a result, the users of this site are no longer able to access it and carry out its usual uses.
DDoS is a distributed denial of service, this indicates when multiple systems distribute the attack from various locations on the internet. Sometimes these attacks come from hundreds or even thousands of systems at once. The attacks are generated by a botnet (infected computers controlled without the owner’s knowledge) that has compromised these machines which is being controlled by hackers.
Unsuspecting consumers all over the world have no idea that their machines are being turned into “zombie computers” in order to carry out these attacks. There are a number of different types of attacks that hackers have continued to fine-tune, which makes predicting them quite difficult. However, there are some precautions you can take and signs to watch for which may indicate that an attack may be underway.
Types of Attacks
The four main categories of DDoS attacks are:
Flooding Attacks. Flooding attacks are when a large amount of traffic attacks a network so it becomes overwhelmed and congested. All of this traffic causes the victim’s network to crash so users are unable to access their accounts.
Amplification Attacks. Amplification attacks take control of “publicly-accessible domain name systems” which flood the target server with a large amount of “user datagram protocol packets”. Hackers can “inflate” these packets to make the attack stronger and often give them a fake alias to hide the identity of the actual attacker to trick firewall defenses.
Resource Depletion Attacks. Just like the amplification attacks, a resource depletion attack uses false information packets to attack the victim’s server so it is not able to respond to any attempts to access it. By doing this, it depletes any resources the target has for operations so they can no longer provide their services.
Diversion Attacks. In diversion attacks, the hacker makes a DDoS attack against a server in order to distract their security system while using other methods to get into the system. The attacker will often ask for a ransom to withdraw the attacks or implant malware and trojans to steal the victim’s sensitive data.
Detection of DDoS
It is not currently possible to prevent these assaults from happening, yet there are some steps you can take to detect that an attack may be about to happen.
- Observe all of the traffic on your server and look for abnormalities. See if there are unexplained jumps in activity and strange IP addresses. Attackers may perform “dry runs” to test your security programs before carrying out an actual attack.
- Look into third-party DDoS testing that will make an attack against your own server to see how well you are protected. Test with a variety of different attacks, not just the ones that you are already familiar with.
- Make a plan for how you are going to respond. Set procedures in place for your customer service and communication teams as well as your IT support.
- Contact your internet service provider to see if they have detected any attacks and ask them if they are able to reroute your traffic if an attack were to actually occur.
Protection Against DDoS Attacks
There are companies that offer products and services designed to protect you against DDoS attacks. Depending on what type of company you run, it may be financially wise to invest in taking this type of service. Your best bet to keep your sensitive data protected is getting the security that you require.
Get a “security insurance policy” in place to ensure that you are completely prepared for whatever is to come. If you are concerned about the safety of your company data and your business as a whole, there is no such thing as being too careful.