In the first quarter of 2015, Arbor Networks – a provider of DDoS and advanced threat protection solutions – detected the largest attack so far: a 334Gbps attack that targeted a network operator in Asia.
That wasn’t the only unsettling fact though: the company also reported that 25 attacks bigger than 100Gbps occurred around the world in the first quarter alone.
The occurrence of a DDoS attack strikes fear into any business, be it big or small.
But these have been happening over the years, and there has been coverage of it.
Knowing that there is a possibility of getting hit with a DDoS attack, companies need to be vigilant when it comes to DDoS protection.
What Is a DDoS Attack?
DDoS stands for distributed denial-of-service attack.
It’s a kind of attack where an array of compromised systems attacks one target.
As a result, a denial of service occurs for those who intend to use the system being targeted.
Because the targeted system receives a lot of messages it can’t possibly handle, it is forced to shut down.
As such, services are denied to legitimate users.
One of the most recent reports of a DDoS attack was against GitHub on March 26, 2015.
GitHub described the event as the largest attack in their history.
The attack lasted until March 31, 2015 and was traced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Netresec – a security researcher – to the Chinese government.
How Can a DDoS Attack Be Prevented?
Although these kinds of attacks have been happening for a long time, a lot of companies still aren’t equipped with knowledge on how to avoid DDoS attack.
The attack on GitHub was made possible by a vulnerability in Baidu Analytics: their traffic was not encrypted by default.
Learning from the mistakes of others and applying measures of your own can help prevent DDoS attacks from happening to you. Here’s how:
- Invest in secure hosting. Although you need to put up measures of your own, hosting your site on a system with a proven security track record shares the security burden, be it a VPS hosting system or otherwise.
- Have detection methods and systems in place. Flow sampling, where a router samples packets then exports a datagram providing packet information, is supported by most routers and is one of the easier approaches to detecting network traffic trends. But since the method only uses a sample, it’s not really as helpful in determining if something is wrong.
A faster and more efficient method is the in-path deployment of a DDoS mitigation device which can immediately detect and mitigate an issue since it monitors incoming and outgoing traffic.
- Keep track of performance metrics. List down the normal values and if something goes off, that’s a signal something may be wrong with the network. This can then be investigated and remedied.
- Make sure your infrastructure can handle high volumes of traffic. DDoS attacks send lots of packets and your network should be able to stave off at least a few.
Companies do not wish to ever fall victim to a DDoS attack.
While a large volume attack may seem impossible to stop, putting in security measures in place can help mitigate the problems.