In an ever changing digital landscape, personal and business owners of all sizes that are hosting data online must remain vigilant. There are a variety of ways in which a Hybrid or Dedicated Server may be taken offline. One of the most prevalent ways to bring a business offline is through the use of a DDoS attack.
In 2017, a DDoS attack
aimed at PlayStation servers brought down several major services, blocking user access to Netflix, Amazon, and others throughout the northeastern parts of the US.
But what is a DDoS attack and how can server administrators and businesses prevent DDoS attacks from crippling their business? In this article, we'll provide you all the resources you need to understand what DDoS attacks are, how they can impact your business, and how to setup DDoS protection today.
What Is a DDoS Attack?
Before we can understand how to prevent a DDoS attack, we must first understand what it is. DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service and it is a coordinated attack against one server or network in which dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of devices send fake traffic to one server in an attempt to bring the server or network offline. How this is actually accomplished varies depending on the DDoS attack type, which we will explore below.
What a DDoS attack means for genuine website visitors is that when they attempt to navigate a website, the server will be so congested with traffic that they will typically see a server error page and will be unable to browse the site. This could mean that visitors are unable to purchase your products or services or manage their accounts, which can be very costly for businesses.
DDoS attacks range in severity and length. They can be as little as a few gigabytes per second and up to several hundred gigabytes. The larger the DDoS attack, the more difficult it can be to stop it.
Why Do DDoS Attacks Exist?
The vast majority of DDoS attacks are a targeted action against an organization. Hackers will reach out to an organization and demand a ransom payment to be paid (typically via bitcoin) or else the group will begin a DDoS attack against the company. This is often a bluff, but at times these groups will begin the attack as they claimed.
Businesses would be ill advised to pay any ransom to these groups as they are likely to keep coming back for more if they have a victim who is willing to comply. If you receive a notice like this, take the opportunity to deploy DDoS protection on your servers to prevent any downtime that may arise on unprotected servers.
What are the Impacts of a DDoS Attack?
To understand how critical DDoS protection is to your business, think about the impact of your website going down for hours or even days. How would that affect your sales? How many prospective clients would you lose?
If a company generates, say, $5,000 in sales on an average day, one DDoS attack could cost the company over $15,000. That's a big hit for a small business. These attacks are also typically conducted during peak business hours, and attackers try to sustain the attacks as long as possible.
DDoS attacks also affect your brand's reputation. Users won't know you're the victim of an attack. All they know is that they visited your site but couldn't get through because your servers were down.
How Do DDoS Attacks Work?
The methods utilized in performing a DDos attack vary based on the type of attack. Here are the most common methods used to attack a server:
The victim server receives spoofed SYN requests with fake IP addresses. This attack overwhelms system resources as the server tries to interpret the incoming packets which are coming in at a high rate.
The victim server receives spoofed SYN-ACK packets at a high packet rate, resulting in depleted system resources as the server tries to respond to these packets.
This attack fakes a complete TCP communication and is designed to fool new defense tools that only monitor incoming traffic to the network.
DDoS attackers utilize one of a variety of attack types, or a combination, in an attempt to bring a server offline and bypass any DDoS protection that may be in place. That's why it's important to have a DDoS Protection plan which can guard against all attack types.
How to Protect Against DDoS Attacks
As you can see, DDoS attacks are fairly common and have a significant impact on business. Luckily, there are a few ways to protect against DDoS attacks and stop a DDoS attack from ever occurring.
DDoS Protected Hosting
The best way to stop a DDoS attack before it even begins is to equip every server in your fleet with DDoS protection. DDoS protected hosting utilizes a hardware device between your server and the internet and filters all traffic in order to prevent any type of DDoS attack from occurring.
DDoS Protection utilizes devices designed by RioRey, a leader in DDoS mitigation appliances. DDoS attacks are typically detected and mitigated within 0 to 90 seconds. This allows legitimate traffic to continue to reach the server, even when a DDoS attack is ongoing.
DDoS protected hosting is a small monthly fee in addition to the standard server rental and it ensures your server is protected from attack. This is more of a proactive approach rather than having to jump into defense mode after an attack has started.
Our enterprise-grade DDoS protection service protects against the most common DDoS attack types, including:
- UDP Flood
- SYN Flood
- SYN-ACK Flood
- ICMP Flood
- DNS Reflection Flood
- Fake Sessions
- Synonymous IP
- Misused Application Attack
If you're looking for the best way to prevent a DDoS attack, a dedicated DDoS protection device in place at all times is the most effective solution. Some businesses choose to implement hardware mitigation only once an attack has started, but the damage of the attack has often already occurred and it can be several hours before a hardware device can be in place.
Maintaining Server Security Best Practices
Aside from investing in DDoS protected hosting, maintaining proper server security procedures is another way to limit the impacts of a DDoS attack. These include:
- Limiting access to internal systems from devices outside of the network
- Keeping systems up to date
- Maintaining proper password management strategies