DDoS attacks are becoming more common. These days even small websites can be targeted by these attacks because the attackers know that they probably won't have much security measures in place. However, like any other attack, DDoS is still no match for good security.
Let's talk about what DDoS is and how you can prevent your website from falling victim to DDoS attacks.
What is DDoS?
DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. A DDoS attack happens when an attacker floods a server with too many requests until it becomes unable to respond to legitimate traffic. If a DDoS attack succeeds in shutting down a website, then it will most likely remain offline until a solution has been found or all DDoS traffic has stopped.
A DDoS attack can be conducted by a hacker or even your disgruntled ex-employee who is angry because he was fired for being inefficient. The first DDoS attack occurred in February 2000 against anti-spam website Spamhaus after it started blacklisting email spammers. After that, DDoS attacks became popular with hackers trying to make a name for themselves. Now DDoS attacks are used by everyone from cyber terrorists to Internet trolls and extortionists.
How do DDoS Attacks Work?
Attackers usually coordinate DDoS attacks using IRC (Internet Relay Chat) since it's easy to use, private, and the messages are tough to find once they're deleted. IRC networks are used to relay the DDoS traffic to the victim's server.
Attackers will send a large number of requests to the target server from many different sources. This can be done with a botnet, which is a network of hijacked computers that have been infected with malware. The attacker will use these machines to send out the DDoS attack traffic.
The DDoS attack can also be done manually by sending traffic from many different IP addresses. However, this can be very time consuming and difficult to do. It's much easier to use a botnet.
What are the Different Types of DDoS Attacks?
There are three main types of DDoS attacks:
- Volumetric Attack: This is the most common type of DDoS attack. It happens when the attacker sends a large amount of traffic to the target server. The goal is to overload the server with requests and make it unable to respond to legitimate traffic.
- Application Attack: This type of DDoS attack targets specific applications or services on the server rather than flooding the entire server with traffic. The attacker will send malicious requests that exploit vulnerabilities in the application or service. This type of DDoS attack is more difficult to execute than a volumetric attack, but can be more effective since it specifically targets the vulnerable application or service.
- Protocol Attack: This type of DDoS attack takes advantage of weaknesses in network protocols. The attacker sends malformed packets that exploit the weakness in the protocol. This DDoS attack can target any type of protocol that uses packets, but is most commonly used against the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) protocol.
Why should I care about my DDoS-affected website?
If DDoS attack happen on one server (the web DDoS attacks such as UDP DDoS attack , dns DDoS etc), then the DDoS attack target could be only websites on this server(including online game hosted here). But if DDoS attack happens in server farm (wide area DDoS attack), all websites in this farm will be down.
If your website gets DDoS-affected, you may be at risk of losing potential customers.
Even if the DDoS attack does not affect your company's reputation, in most cases it still costs money to handle. This is in particular true when multiple DDoS attacks are carried out against one target. The amount of time that must be devoted to mitigating the attack and restoring service can be significant.
In addition, DDoS attacks can also have a negative effect on search engine rankings. Google and other search engines take into account a website's DDoS history when determining where to place it in search results. This means that if your site is hit with a DDoS attack, you may see a drop in your rankings.
So, DDoS attacks can cost your company money and hurt your website's online reputation and preventing it from happening is important not only for your website, but also for all websites in the world.
How could a DDoS attack harm my website?
A DDoS attack can significantly reduce the quality of service for your website or online application. In some cases, an attack can even take your site offline completely. Additionally, a DDoS attack can damage your website's reputation and cause financial losses.
Website availability refers to the continuous and unimpeded access to your site. A DDoS attack can cause lost business revenue, as well as damage your brand and reputation due to a service outage. If your website or application is not available when users want it, they will try again later and possibly go to a competitor's website instead. The result: you lose all those potential customers forever.
How to Protect your Website from DDoS Attacks?
It's important for every website owner to protect themselves against DDoS attacks since DDoS attacks are used by everyone from cyber terrorists to Internet trolls and extortionists. Here are some things you can do to help prevent yourself from being targeted:
- Limit connections per client IP address/hostname: The fewer requests that originate from a single source, the harder it will be for an attacker to hit you with DDoS traffic.
- Install DDoS protection software on your server: There are many different types of DDoS protection software available, and most of them are fairly affordable. You can find a list of some of the best DDoS protection software on the DDoS-protection-tools website.
- Implement a DDoS mitigation solution: There are many different DDoS mitigation solutions available, so it is important to choose one that fits your needs. Some solutions are cloud-based, while others are installed on-premises. Once you have chosen a DDoS mitigation solution, it is important to configure it correctly. You will need to create rules that specify which traffic is allowed to reach your website
- Harden your server against attack: There are many things you can do to make your server more resilient to DDoS attacks, such as limiting the number of connections, rejecting invalid requests, and rate limiting traffic.
- Use a third party DNS provider: A third party DNS provider is less likely to be targeted in a DDoS attack than an in-house DNS server.
- Use CloudFlare: CloudFlare uses a global network of DDoS protected servers that cache your content and serve it from the closest location to your visitors. This means all requests are handled by DDoS protected servers before being passed on to your server, which means your server isn't getting hit with DDoS traffic.
- Be prepared for after an attack: When an DDoS attack happens, you need to recover as quickly as possible so legitimate traffic can get through. Make sure you have a plan in place so everyone knows what they should be doing during and after an DDoS attack.
Another way to protect your website is to make sure that you have good security in place. This means using firewalls, outsource solutions, and you should also keep your software up-to-date. You can use free vulnerability scanners to ensure your website security is up-to-date and has no vulnerabilities. It is even possible to take your vulnerability scanning needs to the next step via automated vulnerability scanning tools.
You can also help to protect your site by increasing your cybersecurity awareness and spreading the word about DDoS attacks. Make sure your friends and family know how to identify a DDoS attack, and what they can do to help themselves. There is a cybersecurity awareness training for it in S4E.
Finally, remember that DDoS attacks are more likely to happen at certain times of the day. Try not to have automated software running on your website that is likely to get DDoS attacked during these hours.
If DDoS attacks do happen, you can always contact a DDoS attack protection service for help. They will be able to help you restore access as soon as possible.
In short, DDoS attacks are a real and present danger to the digital world and CAN cause problems for your website. They can cost you time, money, and customer loyalty if they impact your website or other online presence, but there are some things that you can do to stop them from happening in the first place! If you want to protect yourself from these types of threats, make sure that you have a plan in place for how to prevent it, and if a DDoS attack occur, be sure to know how to handle them. If you need experts on hand who specializes in handling cybersecurity issues like this, sign up to Security for Everyone for free today!