A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a type of distributed attack that attempts to disrupt an online service by making it unavailable to its users over a targeted computer network. This is usually done by overwhelming the service with traffic from unknown sources. Read More about How to Deal with DDoS Attack.

These attackers typically target networks with important resources, which include popular websites and banking sites, presenting a major challenge to users who want to access important information. In essence, DDoS attack is a combined effort to avert computer systems from functioning as they normally would, more often from a remote location over the internet.

These attackers typically target networks with important resources, which include popular websites and banking sites, presenting a major challenge to users who want to access important information. In essence, DDoS attack is a combined effort to avert computer systems from functioning as they normally would, more often from a remote location over the internet.

DDoS Attack – A True Game Changer

The denial of access can be blotted out by latest tools, which allow anyone with an Internet connection and a complaint, to launch an attack. Such an action make DDoS attack a true game changer in the world of networking as far as online threats are concerned. This is one reason why businesses must always be aware of being a potential target for attack.

The most common form of DDoS attack is by sending massive and perpetual requests for external communication to the targeted network. These systems keep receiving requests for information from unwanted users, which are often non-visitors to the site. The attack is made with an intention of creating a false impression of massive traffic attack in such a manner that the actual web traffic coming from original web users witnesses a slowdown, sometimes causing web crashes.

This process is made effective by being heavily automated on the attacker’s end. Customized software are created to flood the services with unwanted traffic, and is run on as many computers as possible. The users, aiding in a DDOS attack, sometimes may or may not be even aware of it.

Trends in DDoS

Today, DDoS not just targets connection bandwidth, but it also attacks multiple devices. They may attack devices that form the base of your current security infrastructure, including Firewall. They also attack various applications that most businesses rely on, such as VoIP, HTTPS, DNS and SMTP.

The latest trend in the world of DDoS these days is the multi-vector attack. This type of attack is a combination of application and state exhaustion approaches against systems and strikes in one go. These attacks are trending possibly because they are not easy to deal with, besides they’re highly effective.

All in all, a DDOS attack can be very threatening to businesses across the globe. It is, hence, important for them to be prepared in case a group of attackers decide to build trouble on your network.

DDoS attacks are a fairly common occurrence on the internet and are something we’ve experienced in the past as well. Here is some more information on DDoS attacks, who they affect and how we mitigate such attacks.

A Denial of Service attack aims to make a website unavailable to users by flooding the website’s servers with an extremely high number of requests. These multiple incoming requests can make website resolution exceedingly slow and can even cause servers to crash.

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is essentially a DoS attack that originates from multiple sources. Such attacks are usually carried out using thousands of unsuspecting zombie machines known as botnets.

DDoS attacks have traditionally been used by cyber criminals to extort money from website owners that rely on the accessibility of their websites. However ‘Hacktivists’ have also initiated such attacks in the past to bring down company and government websites in protest of certain policies or decisions.

A popular recent example is anonymous’ attack in protest of the Megaupload Raids that targeted various government and music industry sites.

Who can it affect?

DDoS attacks are difficult to safeguard against completely and can affect large and small websites alike.

Having suffered a DDoS attack on our DNS servers in the past, we understand that such attacks can occur and the best solution is to have systems in place that allow you to mitigate the attack and get systems back online as soon as possible.

Which leads us to – How do we mitigate DDoS attacks?

While there isn’t a lot that can be done to prevent DDoS attacks, there are certain techniques that we employ to mitigate DDoS attacks and restore services.

To help mitigate DDoS attacks we’ve employed the services of Prolexic Technologies that is a global leader in DDoS Protection & Mitigation. While there are multiple ways in which Prolexic helps mitigate DDoS attacks, here is a simplified version of how Prolexic works.

  • BGP Routing:
    With BGP routing, when a DDoS attack occurs, our traffic gets routed through Prolexic’s servers where malicious and legitimate traffic is segregated and legitimate users can continue to access our services.
  • Advanced Filtering:
    As the traffic gets routed through Prolexic’s servers, their filtering technology identifies anomalies which are then “red flagged” by the system. Moreover, research is then conducted by Prolexic engineers to determine whether this activity should be blocked on the network. Once malicious activity has been determined, it is labeled in the system and blocked.

How can you independently mitigate attacks?

As a individual website owner you have limited control over a server but you can use CloudFlare to protect your websites from attacks.

CloudFlare protects your websites by routing traffic through their intelligent global network – a little like what Prolexic does for us ?

We already provide CloudFlare on our Hosting servers so Resellers can enable and start using it immediately. More information on how CloudFlare can protect you can be found here –
http://www.cloudflare.com/overview

How Web Hosting Providers should deal with a DDoS Attack:

DDoS attacks are a very real threat to website owners and hosts worldwide but like I said before, there is no foolproof way for anyone to really protect themselves against such an attack.

As a Web Hosting provider yourself, I’m sure you’ve come across Customers that consider leaving you in the aftermath of a DDoS attack. You might have felt the same of your upstream provider as well. However, it’s important to remember that anyone can be a target.

An indicator of a good Host isn’t one that hasn’t been attacked yet but one that can effectively restore services and reduce damage.

How Web Hosts handle the situation is also an important indicator. I’ve always seen that the ones that do handle attacks effectively provide detailed information on the following: (This actually applies to most issues/interruption in services)

  1. Which services were affected?
  2. Are the services back up or how long will it take to restore services?
  3. Does the Client need to do anything?
  4. Why did this happen i.e. details of the DDoS attack
  5. How was the attack mitigated?
  6. Can this happen again?
  7. Who can Clients contact if they have any concerns?

As a individual website owner you have limited control over a server but you can use CloudFlare to protect your websites from attacks.

So there you have it – everything on what is a DDoS attack and how you can deal with it! I’d love to know what you think so do comment and let me know your thoughts.

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