What is a DDoS attack, and how to prevent ourselves?

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are nasty and harmful. They have consequences that no organization or business wants to experience. When criminals shut down your business, they also drag down important stuff, values that take a long to build, like consumer’s trust. 

Besides:

  • It affects your income. 
  • It costs to fix the mess DDoS attacks produce. 
  • A data breach could be taking place during the time owners are distracted trying to fix the situation. 
  • Your reputation is hit and possibly, also your position in the search engines ranking. This, in case it takes longer for your website to get back on track. 

What is a DDoS attack?

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is a cyber-attack implemented to disrupt important targets like a system, server, or a network, by overwhelming them with massive traffic coming from multiple devices. Due to the different sources that are used to attack the target, the word “distributed”. The target is down, and a denial of service is produced. No user can access it.

There are different kinds of DDoS attacks. Techniques can vary or be mixed to hit the target stronger. But generally, all DDoS attacks work through infecting as many devices connected to the Internet as possible, even globally, to attack the target with lots of traffic coming from all the compromised sources (computers, servers, wearables, Internet of Things). Targets can’t handle the traffic, get sluggish until they definitely, get drowned.

How to prevent ourselves from DDoS attacks?

  • Permanently monitor your traffic. Know your traffic like the back of your hand. This is the only way to distinguish normal activity from suspicious one that can lead to a DDoS attack. Different reasons can produce spikes in traffic. Understanding those causes is vital. There are applications and many tools to monitor traffic efficiently.
  • Keep your system up to date. Regular maintenance is a must, and it’s the best way for infrastructure to be safe. Outdated software opens a chance for loopholes. Vulnerabilities, little security gaps are exactly what criminals look for to take advantage. Update your system, scan it regularly to find possible weaknesses, and patch it for attackers not to come in.
  • Improve your security to a bullet-proof level. Prevention is cheaper than fixing DDoS attack’s consequences. Shield your infrastructure with modern tech and multi-level strategies. Individually, some tools are powerful, but they are far better when combined. Include tech not only for detecting weird activity but also for reacting against it. Load balancing, anti-spam, filters, blocking, firewalls, traffic monitors, backups, encrypt sensitive data, etc., are totally worthy!
  • Invest in quality load balancing. Load balancing is the most efficient alternative for handling big loads of traffic. It means to distribute the traffic directing it to different servers. Normal traffic spikes or suspicious ones could be balanced before they represent a threat or a struggle to manage. Invest in a quality DNS provider. The more servers a provider offers you, the bigger your chances of preventing or fighting back a DDoS attack.
  • Have a DDoS attack responsive plan. Think a plan in advance, what to do in case nothing stops a DDoS attack against you. Consider the worst scenario for your business, and calculate alternatives not to be absolutely stopped. How can you keep operating? The whole organization or at least priority departments. Who will be in charge of specific actions? Clear responsibilities’ assignment and quality communication are vital not to waste time. Improvising pays a high price.

Conclusion

All DDoS attacks’ versions are complex. To prevent ourselves doesn’t involve just adding a new protocol, a single tool, or an individual security measure. Prevention to avoid these attacks demands a robust strategy, tech combination in different levels, and accurate human actions.

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