Is your website prepared to withstand a DDoS attack? Follow the story of a business under siege and learn how to protect yourself from this all too common digital threat.
A sudden surge in internet traffic has left your website struggling to keep up. Your team quickly realizes that you are under attack from a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The attackers are flooding your servers with a massive amount of traffic, making it impossible for legitimate users to access your site. Panic sets in as your team tries to figure out how to stop the attack before it causes irreparable damage to your business.
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What is Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)?
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a type of cyber attack aimed at rendering an online service unavailable by flooding it with traffic from multiple sources. These attacks can target a range of critical resources, from financial institutions to news websites, and pose a significant challenge to ensuring people have access to important information.
According to research by TrendMicro, a week-long DDoS attack can be purchased on the black market for just $150. Additionally, Arbor Networks observes over 2000 daily digital attacks worldwide, while Verisign/Merril Research attributes one-third of all downtime incidents to DDoS attacks.
How Cybercriminal attacks ?
To carry out a DDoS attack, attackers first infect computers with malicious software through emails, websites, or social media, creating what is known as a ‘botnet’. These infected machines can then be remotely controlled without the owners’ knowledge and used to launch an attack against any target. Some botnets are made up of millions of machines.
Once a botnet is in place, attackers can use it to generate massive floods of traffic aimed at overwhelming a target. This can involve sending more connection requests than a server can handle or sending huge amounts of random data to use up the target’s bandwidth. Some DDoS attacks are so large they can max out an entire country’s international cable capacity.
Dark Web and DDoS
The dark web is a part of the internet that can only be accessed with specific software or configurations, making it difficult for authorities to track and monitor illegal activities. One of the most common illegal activities on the dark web is the sale of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
The dark web provides a marketplace for these types of attacks, allowing hackers to sell their services anonymously and without fear of being caught. Buyers can purchase DDoS attacks for as little as a few hundred dollars, making it an accessible tool for those with malicious intent.
Specialized online marketplaces exist for buying and selling botnets or individual DDoS attacks. Using these underground markets, anyone can pay a small fee to silence websites they disagree with or disrupt an organization’s online operations. A week-long DDoS attack capable of taking down a small organization can cost as little as $150.
Types of DDoS?
DDoS attacks can take various forms, with four common categories of attacks being TCP Connection Attacks, Volumetric Attacks, Fragmentation Attacks, and Application Attacks.
- TCP Connection Attacks aim to occupy connections by using up all the available connections to infrastructure devices like load-balancers, firewalls, and application servers. Even devices that can maintain state on millions of connections can be taken down by these attacks.
- On the other hand, Volumetric Attacks attempt to use up bandwidth within the target network/service or between the target network/service and the rest of the Internet. The goal is to cause congestion and slow down the service or network.
- Fragmentation Attacks send a flood of TCP or UDP fragments to a victim, overwhelming the victim’s ability to re-assemble the streams and severely reducing performance.
- Lastly, Application Attacks target specific aspects of an application or service and can be effective even with very few attacking machines generating a low traffic rate. These types of attacks can be challenging to detect and mitigate.
In addition to the types of attacks, attackers can also use two methods to multiply the traffic they can send: DNS Reflection and Chargen Reflection.
DNS Reflection works by forging a victim’s IP address, allowing the attacker to send small requests to a DNS server and ask it to send the victim a large reply. This allows the attacker to amplify every request from its botnet by up to 70x in size, making it easier to overwhelm the target.
Similarly, Chargen Reflection uses an outdated testing service called Chargen to request a device to reply with a stream of random characters. This service can be used to amplify attacks similar to DNS attacks, further increasing the amount of traffic sent to the target.
How to prevent from DDoS attack?
reCAPTCHA: If you suspect that the traffic to your website is coming from bots, you can temporarily turn on reCAPTCHA. This tool can help to verify that a real person is accessing your website and prevent bots from overwhelming your server. However, it’s worth noting that reCAPTCHA can have negative consequences for legitimate traffic, so use it with caution.
Denylist: If you know the IP address of an attacker who is targeting your site, you can add them to your Project Shield Denylist. This will prevent them from accessing your website and can help to mitigate the impact of an attack.
Website firewalls: Setting up a website firewall, even if you’re not currently being targeted by a DDoS attack. Firewalls can help to block suspicious traffic and prevent malicious requests from reaching your server.
In addition to these tools, there are other steps you can take to help mitigate the impact of a DDoS attack. For example, you can configure your server to limit the number of requests that it accepts from a single IP address or user, or you can use a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute traffic across multiple servers.
Overall, the key to mitigating DDoS attacks is to be prepared and have a plan in place. By using the tools available to you, monitoring your traffic, and staying up to date on the latest security best practices, you can help to protect your website from attacks and keep it up and running even during times of high traffic. Rewrite in casual