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DDoS In a Nutshell

Web Hosting Blog

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a major threat to your website. They target websites and businesses of every size, including individual live streamers.

With more than 50 million attacks every year, that’s almost two attacks every second. They’re on the rise and growing in frequency and strength. Attacks have increased 125 percent year-over-year with a 35% jump in duration, lasting between 6 – 24 hours. That can cripple an organization when, according to Incapsula, costs of a DDoS attack can range from $20K – 100K per hour.

Kaspersky reports 33% of organizations experienced a DDoS attack in 2017. 53% of these attacks were smokescreens to cover up other cybercrimes, such as data theft and network intrusions.

With the emergence of the IoT, DDoS attacks have seen even higher increases. They account for a staggering one-third of all website downtime and can be purchased for as low as $150 on the black market.

In a nutshell, DDoS attacks have existed for years, but have evolved to be more devastating and easier to launch. As cybercriminals develop more destructive techniques, everyone who uses the internet should learn about DDoS attacks and how to protect against them.

How Do DDoS Attacks Occur?

DDoS attacks disrupt normal operations by destroying performance and availability. At its most basic level, a DDoS attack overwhelms your website with so much traffic your websites become slow, unresponsive and ultimately crashes.

To orchestrate this symphony of traffic, a hacker uses a remotely controlled device that has already been infected, otherwise known as a bot, short for robot. A collection of these infected devices is a called a botnet. Basically, they become an army of remote-controlled zombies ready to disable or destroy any system in its path. 

Types of DDoS Attacks 

DDoS attacks can fall into three broad categories, depending on the attack.

1. Volumetric Attacks (also known as Network-centric Attacks)
    a. The most common type of DDoS attacks
    b. Use botnets to consume bandwidth
    c. Examples include NTP Amplification, DNS Amplification, UDP Flood, TCP Flood

2. State-exhaustion Attacks (also known as Protocol Attacks)
    a. Exploits a weakness in the Layer 3 and Layer 4 protocol stacks
    b. Targets the connection state in firewalls, web application servers, load balancers
    c. Examples include Syn Flood, Ping of Death 
 
3. Application-layer Attacks
    a. The most sophisticated and most challenging attacks to identify/mitigate
    b. Operated by a single machine, it’s stealthy and able to fly “under the radar”
    c. Examples include HTTP Flood, Attack on DNS Services, HTTPS and SMTP

Ways to Protect Against DDoS Attacks

Here are some security measures for successful DDoS protection: 

1. Extra Bandwidth: An effective way to enhance DDoS protection is by increasing the bandwidth available for your web server. This allows your website to handle sudden and unexpected surges in traffic. But, this is more of a buffer to give you critical time to act rather than a complete solution.

2. Defend Network Perimeter: You can also enhance your network’s defense perimeter by: 

-rate limiting your router to prevent web server overwhelm 

-dropping spoofed or malformed packages 

-setting lower SYN, ICMP and UDP flood up thresholds 

However, these are very technical and require some level of incident handling knowledge to effectively respond to DDoS attacks.

3. DDoS Specialist: Another option is to hire a DDoS specialist who can save you from the attack during the time of crisis. But, this requires deep pockets that may be beyond your budget.

4. cWatch Web: This cloud-based Security-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution arms you with DDoS protection along with malware protection and 24/7 monitoring by a team of certified cybersecurity experts.

 DDoS attacks can bring your organization to its knees. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Implement a proactive preventative solution now. Get in touch with us today to learn more.