We live in a technology-driven world, with complex computer systems being at the very base of pretty much every service we use. Whether we’re talking about mammoth corporations or small businesses, they all have one thing in common – they rely on computer networks and, despite the companies’ best efforts to design these networks to be as efficient and as safe as they can possibly be, hackers will still try to break into them. The most common type of attack used against a device or a network of devices is a Distributed Denial of Service attack, or DDoS for short. DDoS attacks imply using a large group of malware-infected devices (known as a botnet) to target one specific element of a network, and send it more traffic than it can handle, thus forcing it to go offline. It is one of the most simple yet most efficient types of attacks, and the size of the botnet used for the attack can sometimes be mind-blowing.
However, while DDoS attacks cannot be totally prevented or avoided, they can be dealt with in an efficient manner to limit their damage. Here are five super tips to help your IT department defend against a DDoS attack.
Prevention is one of the key elements you need to take into account. While technically speaking it isn’t really possible to prevent the attack from happening, you can take some measures to minimize its chances of occurring. For starters, you need to understand that these attacks usually have a purpose – to break an element of a company’s network and gain access to its devices, to take a service offline or to disrupt the business’ workflow. You will need to identify any potential targets and minimize the chances of someone wanting to exploit them. Also, it’s important to be aware that most DDoS attacks are initiated after the attacker gets inside knowledge of the systems in place, so taking simple measures such as ensuring all devices on your company’s network are running up-to-date anti-virus solutions will likely catch the attacker before he can get inside and get the necessary knowledge to plan an effective DDoS attack. Setting strict policies regarding Internet access and the use of personal devices on company networks can also drive down the chances of an attacker being able to get access to your network.
Preparation: On-Site Solutions
Just because you made it harder for attackerS to get in doesn’t mean it will be impossible, or that they will not try to do so nonetheless. While some attackers make use of clever and subtle tactics gain access, others use a less-subtle approach and launch a full-scale attack right away, targeting your network and devices with incredible amounts of traffic.
The most efficient solution to this is having on-site security measures that can quickly detect such occurrences in real-time, and take action right away. Sophisticated routers, firewalls and traffic analyzers can monitor every byte of traffic going in and out of a company network, so when they discover that malicious traffic is targeting the network, they can simply filter it. Consider using the help of a specialized service for this task, but if you’re operating at a small scale, you can do the research yourself as well.
Preparation: Off-Site Solutions
While the importance of on-site security solutions is crucial, that should be one of your last standing walls. Some ISPs offer traffic filtering at their level directly, so you can sort your incoming traffic before it even reaches your network. Also, there are dedicated services such as CloudFlare that are designed with that specific purpose – to re-route all traffic and filter it, ensuring only legitimate traffic gets to reach your website, devices or network.
Proper Security Protocols
Simply having the tools to fight off a DDoS attack is not enough – you also need to have a proper plan for using them effectively. One of the most common mistakes in the security field is simple obtaining said tools or services, but not taking the time to get familiar with them or set up action plans.
Setting up some security protocols will allow you to know exactly how to identify an attack, how to find its purpose, how to determine what is being targeted and determining the proper action to take. This is important because some security matters cannot decipher between legitimate and illegitimate traffic, so your customers can be affected as well. There were cases when the attack itself was of small scale, not really able to do any harm in itself, but improperly-set security measures took the services offline anyway as a precaution, doing more harm than the attack itself.
So you managed to fend off the attack and your network was left unscathed – awesome! Just because you managed to fight it off this time doesn’t mean the next time will be the same, so in wake of every attack, it’s important to take the time to examine what just happened: identify its target, its entry-point, its methodology – try to understand as much as possible about it so you can improve your security measures, and then strengthen the necessary elements. You can also stay in the loop with the latest apps and tools to keep you safe by checking out Best Online Reviews for thorough reviews of apps and services that can help you defend against the next attack.