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DDoS Attacks: How to Win the Battle

Web Hosting Blog

Earlier this week, we posted a blog exploring what DDoS attacks actually are, how they work and why cybercriminals like them so much. Today, we’re going to look a bit more in depth at the next step, which is how to avoid and/or mitigate an attack of this nature.

As we know, DDoS attacks are carried out in order to overwhelm a web server to the point of crippling it, or taking it down altogether. This is achieved by flooding a target network with unwanted and illegitimate traffic.

Once deployed DDoS attacks can be difficult to stop, which is why it’s important to limit your company’s risk of falling victim to one in the first place, and minimising the harm that an attacker is capable of, by adopting best practises with your web server and using DDoS mitigation services appropriate for your site and business.

So today, we’re going to look at the different options available, so that you can make better decisions when deciding which practises and services would be best for your business.

Risk Assessments – This would be the first step to take in deciding both what your course of action would be during an attack, and which services your company needs. By understanding the risk to your business that an attack would present, you can effectively work backwards in determining what needs to be done to minimise those risks as much as possible. So carry out a dedicated risk assessment on the scenario of your company being hit by a DDoS attack.

Have a Plan – This should most importantly include the plan for your communication with both your staff and your customers.

Server Patching – It goes without saying really that your server software should be kept up to date, not just to help prevent the risk of a DDoS attack, but to combat vulnerabilities against any kind of attack or unauthorised access.

Removing Single Point of Failure – Although this won’t stop an attack, it may help to reduce the impact of an attack on your site. If you opt for a load balanced solution for example and only one of your servers is attacked, the other will immediately take over the hosting of your site, meaning your site will stay live as you work to combat the attack.

DDoS Mitigation Service – You may choose to purchase advanced protection against DDoS attacks through a company which provides such services. These services work by disrupting the bad traffic, whilst still allowing good traffic through, meaning that your website can stay online. These services also work so well because they monitor and therefore protect against known botnets by automatically mitigating traffic from such an origin. Because they store attack and source information they are then able to anticipate a lot of attacks immediately, nipping them in the bud, so to speak. They are also able to block smaller, direct attacks.

Although it may be more costly to take out a service from a third party provider, ultimately the monthly cost of this will almost always be less than the cost impact of an attack. It’s worth bearing in mind too that around two thirds of all DDoS targets are then hit repeatedly thereafter. Repeated attacks can mean customers moving away, suspended accounts, higher bandwith charges, to name a few after effects.

As we mentioned previously, prevention is much easier and cheaper than dealing with the aftermath of an attack. Make sure you are always adopting best practises with your web server and using the DDoS mitigation services appropriate for your site and business.

A leading provider of DDoS mitigation services is Cloudflare. CWCS is a partner of cloudflare and can offer their products at a competitive rate to complement your existing security measures. Get in touch with us today for more information.