How to Empower Your Network for a Disastrous DDoS Attack

network ddos attack
21-year-old Alex Bessell was arrested earlier this year for DDoS attacks. He was responsible for launching attacks against major companies and brands including Google, Skype, and Nintendo.

Anyone can be the target of a DDoS attack, regardless of company size. Alex Bessell was bold in targeting Google and Skype, but that’s not a common trend in DDoS attacks. His risk didn’t pay off.

DDoS attacks carried out by hijacked devices. The devices send numerous requests to a single target and flood websites, applications, or networks with overwhelming traffic. These attacks cause congestion and bandwidth consumption, potentially shutting down your service or network.

Attackers use a variety of methods to accomplish a successful attack. For example, illegal paid services exist online for DDoS attacks, often called “booters” or “stressors.” People, even children, have threatened each other with DDoS attacks during online disagreements. Also, IoT devices lack security and were responsible for a major DDoS attack in 2016.

DDoS attacks are as simple to carry out as buying the service online. Since they’re so easy, how do companies prepare?

Network Monitoring

Network monitoring quickly develops alongside IoT devices. IoT devices expand the network and introduce new security flaws. IoT devices, being so numerous, introduce even more hijackable devices with little to no security. This increases the potential of DDoS attacks. Despite this, new challenges bring out innovative ideas. Intent-based networking has become the next trend in easing networks.

Intent-based monitoring builds alongside the expanding world of IoT devices. An expanded network enhances preparation and security. Having additional visibility allows your company to see where threats are coming from and how to secure those avenues. Gaining insight into an attack immediately allows network engineers to focus their time on valuable defense procedures. IoT devices might be vulnerable to hijacking but being able to monitor their behavior can make defending against them easier.

Many network performance monitoring solutions provide DDoS specific monitoring. ThousandEyes, for example, offers DDoS attack and mitigation monitoring. Finding the weak link in an attack is invaluable. Attacks could come from a DNS, ISP networks, edge routers or an app server. They work to help teams understand the effectiveness of their response and it records performance data.

DDoS Mitigation

DDoS mitigation diverts attacks away from your network. Mitigation starts by detecting abnormal traffic flow. Now, this is something offered by any network monitoring solution. Network monitoring solutions provide analysis of your network and help users figure out normal behavior. The key difference is where the mitigation goes from here.

If the mitigation tool detects abnormal traffic, it will work to see if the abnormal traffic is, in fact, a DDoS attack. The tool will be able to figure this out quickly, as an attack can occur in a matter of minutes. After distinguishing the traffic from normal traffic, the mitigation tool will divert the attack traffic away from its intended destination.

DDoS mitigation tools are generally offered as add-ons from ISPs, but these are typically only valuable for smaller attacks. For enterprises, standalone mitigation products provide the most value. Learning the ins-and-outs of your network is just as important as snuffing out an attack. So, pairing network monitoring solutions with a DDoS mitigation tool can often be the best option for enterprises.

Doug Atkinson

An entrepreneur and executive with a passion for enterprise technology, Doug founded Solutions Review in 2012. He has previously served as a newspaper boy, a McDonald's grill cook, a bartender, a political consultant, a web developer, the VP of Sales for e-Dialog - a digital marketing agency - and as Special Assistant to Governor William Weld of Massachusetts.

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