The most lethal types of attacks in the cyber world are something known as distributed denial of service or DDoS attacks. These attacks can take place at any time, from anywhere and on any network. And this is probably one of the biggest reasons why an organization should think about “how to prevent DDoS” rather than “how to react when under a DDoS attack”. Looking at the recent history of cyber security, one can come to know exactly how serious DDoS attacks are. Take for instance, September – October 2012 when there were plenty of distributed denial of service attacks against big names in the US banking sector.
Statistics also reveal that some of the reasons behind such DDoS attacks are:
- Ideological battles
- Military strategies and
- Simple maliciousness
Regardless of the reason why DDoS attacks are conducted, it is important for an organization to look at preventing the same. In fact, one of the biggest reasons why denial of service attacks are successful is because an organization is not prepared with the right kind of defense mechanisms.
Successful protection against DDoS attacks are characterized by being able to minimize the damage done to the network. It is good not to believe a service provider who promises you 100% successful prevention. However, a good service provider will always tell you that he has successful damage control mechanisms in place. But, DDoS prevention will always begin with excellent monitoring and analytical services.
Various techniques of DDoS prevention
Successful DDoS prevention will always begin with the ability to identify and sort through legitimate and illegitimate traffic in no time at all. Once this mechanism is in place, then illegitimate traffic can be halted at the edge of the network rather than allowing it to filter through to the server or the network where it can do immense damage. Some of the ways in which DDoS attacks can be prevented from blowing up include:
- DDoS is a multi-headed hydra
Differentiating malicious requests from legitimate requests. Such requests will not conform to standards and protocols that apply in the Internet world. Therefore, a watchful network will be able to detect such malicious requests even as they start their journey towards the server.
- Watching out for a flood of server requests that may come from a single source or a single user. When faced with such a flood of requests, an organization’s server will simply shut down because it has been overloaded. Normally, DDoS prevention takes place with protocols and systems such as complete TCP handshakes, request and response or even signature and challenge tests.
One of the reasons why security experts take DDoS extremely seriously is because it can take on different avatars. Ping packets, protocol attacks, ICMP flooding are only a few of the ways in which DDoS attacks are targeted against organizations. Therefore, defending against a network attack you should consider all the various forms that such attacks can take on. It helps to look for a company that can deliver multilayered defense mechanisms which will help in preventing DDoS attacks.
James is a writer and blogger with 5 years experience.