Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) are much different than what they used to be. In the past, DDoS attacks involved sending as much traffic and data as possible to a network or server, with the idea of overwhelming it and, and thus shutting it down. This typically resulted in a temporary disruption of services until they could be put back online.
However, modern-day DDoS attacks are far more complex. With techniques that are incomparable with previous attempts, unclear motives and increasing frequency, everyone with a network needs to be aware of the dangers presented by DDoS attacks.
Whether you are a network operator or another service provider, today we’re going to explore seven key ways you can defend your network from the dangers of a DDoS attack and help ensure your network stays up and active.
Create a DDoS operational plan
As a managed service provider, or MSP, you rely on your network to operate. In the event that your network does go down, you need to know exactly what you’re doing to get things back on track. This means creating a plan that anyone can leverage to keep your business running.
Within this plan, you’ll want to think about things like how you’re going to keep your service running, what kind of communications you’re going to send out and to whom, for example your stakeholders, and how you’re going to get your network back online.
You may wish to create a response team within your organisation, so if a DDoS attack ever takes place, you’ll know exactly who’s going to be doing what.
Learn what DDoS attacks are
The best way to counter a DDoS attack as it’s taking place is to know what a DDoS attack looks like. As mentioned previoulsy, DDoS attacks look very different than they used to, and can include both high-volume data packets, and short duration, low-volume packets, which makes them much harder to detect.
“To identify a DDoS attack happening, you need to ensure you’re aware of what your standard and normal network patterns look like and what kind of data your network uses. This way, if you detect any anomalies in your network, you can shut them down before too much damage is done,” says Martha Ericson, business writer at Paperfellows and StateOfWriting.
Some of the symptoms you’ll also want to look out for include a slow or laggy network, a connection that keeps dropping, or your website coming online and then intermittently shutting down.
Secure your networks
Okay, now that you know the basics, and you’re covered in the event that a DDoS attack does take place, it’s time to start building your defences. First things first; secure your network. We live in the 21st Century, which means there are many protective systems and applications you can use, so why aren’t you using them?
Think about using a combination of security features, including firewalls, anti-spam filters, load balancing solutions, content filtering platforms, VPNs, and more, all of which are designed to help block out unwanted data packets and prevent DDoS attacks from happening in the first place.
There is, of course, specialist anti-DDoS software that specifically protects against this kind of attack, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to reduce damage to your network or prevent it altogether.
Implement basic security measures
By far, the best way to prevent a DDoS attack is by practising the very basic standard when it comes to the internet and network security. If you can minimise user error within your network, this will then reduce the chances of a DDoS attack taking place.
Consider the security standards that every organisation should have. These include ensuring every user is leveraging complex passwords to prevent brute force attacks. Furtner, installing anti-phishing methods can minimise the risk that any unnecessary outside connections will be able to access your network.
If you can minimize user error within your network, this will then reduce the chances of a #DDoS attack taking place. #cybersecurity
“Another example of this would be your staff accessing your network remotely. For example, if an employee is remote working and connecting to your network from a café, in other words, an open public Wi-Fi connection, this is vulnerable to DDoS attacks, and then so is your network,” explains Karen Mitchel, a webmaster at UKWritings and Academized. In this situation, you’ll want to make sure your employee is using a VPN to protect their connection.
Use cloud platforms and solutions
If you’re able to outsource your network in stages to cloud-based services and platforms, you’ll be able to minimise the dangers of experiencing a DDoS attack. For example, cloud services will have more bandwidth than most private networks, and thus are less likely to experience and feel the effects of a DDoS attack.
What’s more, cloud services by nature prioritise defending themselves from malicious attacks and hacking, because it’s obviously the main purpose of their business. This means their protection will have far more investment than most private businesses, and using them means you get access to that level of protection.
Get ISP protection
No matter who your internet service provider (ISP) is, be aware that many will offer DDoS protection plans and services with their bundles, especially for businesses, so make sure you’re taking advantage of these offers. Whether you get access to either a free or a paid DDoS protection plan, see what features available and what kind of security are you get.
After all, the more protection you have, the more secure your network will be and the more minimal your risk of damage and disruption. So, it’s always worth considering as an option, even if you have a better security level already in place.
The more protection you have, the more secure your network will be and the more minimal your risk of damage and disruption. #cybersecurity #DDoS
Test your DDoS resistance
There are plenty of security services out there that will test your network by DDoS’ing you on your behalf. Of course, the security team won’t DDoS you to a damaging level, but rather it will test your network to see what kind of strain it can take, and then what kind of security options you’ll have available to you.
Photo: Maksim Shmeljov / Shutterstock