Threat Vector

DDoS Attacks

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks disrupt online services by overwhelming them with a flood of unwanted traffic. These malicious assaults exploit vulnerabilities within networks, causing systems to become inaccessible or crash entirely. As the digital world continues to grow, understanding and mitigating these threats becomes increasingly vital for maintaining cyber resilience. Discover effective strategies for combating DDoS attacks and strengthening your digital defenses.

Recognizing DDoS Attacks

One of the primary challenges in recognizing a DDoS attack lies in its deceptive symptoms. These indicators often mimic commonplace technological glitches that users experience daily. Such symptoms include lagging upload or download speeds, inaccessible websites, disrupted internet connections, unusual media displays, and a surge in spam.

DDoS attacks target distinct segments of a network and are categorized based on the network connection layers they aim at. Internet connections encompass seven distinct layers, as outlined by the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model developed by the International Organization for Standardization. This model facilitates seamless communication between varied computer systems.

Here’s How It Works

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The attack is launched from multiple sources, making it more challenging to stop because locking one source won't halt the attack.

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The primary purpose is to deny the targeted systems' services to legitimate users. For example, users might find it slow to load or unavailable if a website is under a DDoS attack. 

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This malicious activity is intended to harm or exploit any computer, service or network. 

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Learn More about DDoS

What is a DDoS Attack?

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to disrupt the normal functioning of a network, service, or website by overwhelming it with a flood of internet traffic. Identifying a DDoS attack can be critical for mitigating its effects and ensuring the continued functionality of the targeted service.

How to prevent DDoS?

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How to Identify a DDoS Attack?

Here are some common signs and methods to identify a DDoS attack:

Unexpected Traffic Surges: A sudden and dramatic increase in network traffic is one of the most common indicators of a DDoS attack. Monitoring tools can show spikes in request rates that are abnormally high.

Performance Issues: If your website or online service becomes suddenly slow or unreachable, it may be under a DDoS attack. While performance issues can be caused by many factors, a DDoS should be one of the potential causes to investigate.

Multiple IP Addresses: DDoS attacks often involve requests from a large number of different IP addresses. Tools that can analyze traffic sources may reveal an unusually high number of IP addresses sending requests to your site or service.

Unusual Traffic Patterns: Not all DDoS attacks are about sheer volume. Some use specific patterns of requests to tie up resources. For instance, you might see a lot of requests for a specific resource or page that isn’t typically popular.

Mismatch in Load Balancer and Backend Traffic: Sometimes, attackers target the application layer. This means that your load balancer might show normal incoming traffic, but your back-end servers could be overwhelmed with request processing.

Multiple Geographies: If you notice that a lot of traffic is coming in from countries where you don’t typically do business or have many visitors, that could be a sign.

Examine Network Protocols: Sometimes, attackers exploit specific network protocols like NTP, SSDP, or Chargen. If you see a lot of traffic on ports associated with these protocols, it might indicate an attack.

Check Error Rate: A rise in the number of error responses like 503 Service Unavailable could indicate that your servers are struggling to cope with the volume of requests.

Anomalous Traffic During Off-Peak Times: If you observe an unexpected high traffic during off-peak times, it could be a red flag.

Tools and Services: There are various tools and services available that can help identify and mitigate DDoS attacks. Some common ones include Cloudflare, Akamai, AWS Shield, Arbor Networks, etc. These tools often provide dashboards that highlight abnormal traffic patterns.

Immediate Steps to Take:

Alert your team: Inform relevant members of your organization (IT, security, public relations, etc.) about the potential attack.

Engage with your ISP or hosting provider: They may be able to provide guidance or directly help mitigate the attack.

Enable Rate Limiting: This helps in limiting the number of requests a user can send to your server within a specific time period.

Filter Traffic: Configure firewalls or other filtering tools to block traffic from suspicious IP addresses.

Activate DDoS Protection: If you have a DDoS protection service or tool, activate or escalate its protection mode.

Monitor and Analyze: Continuously monitor the situation and adapt your defenses based on the specific nature and scale of the attack.

Remember that it's essential to have a response plan in place before an attack happens. Being prepared can significantly reduce the impact and duration of an attack.

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