Six Steps To Defend Against DDoS Attacks In Network Security

  • 7 min read
Defend Against DDoS Attacks

Organizations consistently seek efficient security measures in the digital realm of the business landscape. This is to secure web applications and sensitive data of the organization. Let’s have a look at some stats. 

A report on DDoS stats provides some astonishing figures:

  • Between 2013 and 2022, DDoS attacks surged by 807%. These quarterly incidents climbed from approximately 325,000 in Q1 2013 to about 2.9 million in Q1 2022.
  • The finance and telecommunications sectors collectively represent 60% of all targets subjected to DDoS attacks.
  • Cloudflare estimates that between 9% and 19% of DDoS attacks are financially driven. This means they involve extortion tactics.

It is clear from the stats that many companies have already experienced a DDoS attack and suffered huge losses. It may hit your organization at any time. Employing the best network security solutions for your organization and safeguarding it from malicious attacks is crucial. 

Introduction to DDoS attacks and how they operate

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack involves a malicious effort to interrupt the regular flow of traffic to a specific server, service, or network. It is done by inundating it or its surrounding infrastructure with an excessive volume of Internet traffic.

DDoS attacks become effective when there are multiple computer systems with compromised security measures. These systems act as sources of attack. Computer systems and other connected devices such as IoT devices can be exploited for attacks. 

Consider a website or online service as a busy road. A DDoS attack is like a sudden flood of vehicles overwhelming the road. This way, it makes it impossible for regular users to reach their destination.

Here is how a DDoS attack works:

DDoS attacks are executed with a network of connected devices. The attacker builds a hidden force by infecting many devices with malware. These infected devices are called bots or zombies. Once the attacker has control of these botnets (groups of bots), they can unleash it on a target by sending commands to all the bots at once.

When a victim’s network or server is attacked by a botnet, each bot issues commands to the IP address of the target system. This significantly causes the network or server to be flooded by fake traffic. This results in a DDoS or Denial of Service to normal traffic. It becomes difficult to differentiate between fake and genuine traffic since every bot is a legitimate device. 

It is easy to recognize a DDoS attack. It makes a site or service go slow suddenly. But, more investigation is required to confirm the attack. This is because it is also possible when there is huge genuine traffic to the site. Some traffic analytics tools help in identifying a DDoS attack. 

Check Out: Challenges & Solutions of IoT Security for Enterprise

Proactive network security measures

Proactive network security is crucial in DDoS protection, which overwhelms systems with a flood of traffic. Here are some key measures to implement before an attack hits:

  • Traffic filtering: By analyzing traffic patterns, you can identify and block suspicious activity. This may include sudden spikes in traffic from unusual locations or ports.
  • Capacity planning: Understanding a network’s typical traffic flow allows you to scale your resources to handle potential surges. This may involve adding bandwidth or deploying additional servers.
  • Redundancy: It means creating backups of critical systems. It ensures they remain operational during an attack. This could involve replicating data across servers or implementing failover mechanisms.
  • Intrusion Detection System: An IDS or intrusion detection system is a software application or a device that can monitor a network to prevent policy violations or malicious activities. 
  • DDoS mitigation services: The servers can partner with security providers. They equip you with their expertise and infrastructure. These services can absorb and deflect attack traffic. And shields your network from overload.

Steps to defend against DDoS attacks

Some crucial steps to prevent your system from DDoS attacks are discussed in further sections of this article. 

Utilizing Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Imagine a network of warehouses strategically placed around the world, all stocked with your website’s content. That’s essentially a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs store cached copies of your website’s files (images, videos, etc.) on these edge servers, bringing them closer to users. This offers several benefits:

  • Faster loading times: Users access content from the nearest server. This reduces travel distance for data and speeds up page loads.
  • Improved user experience: Faster websites lead to happier users. This can boost customer engagement and conversions.
  • Reduced bandwidth costs: By offloading content delivery to the CDN, you can potentially lower bandwidth usage on your origin server.
  • Enhanced security: Some CDNs offer protection against DDoS attacks by filtering malicious traffic before it reaches your website.

So, implementing CDNs can be a good tactic for defending systems from distributed denial of service of DDoS. 

Also Read: CyberSecurity with Airtel iSOC 

Deploying rate limiting and traffic shaping

Rate limiting and traffic shaping are tools to control incoming traffic on your network. If there is a busy highway to your website:

  • Rate limiting sets a speed limit for incoming data. This prevents surges from overwhelming your system, like rush hour traffic jams.
  • Traffic shaping smooths out traffic flow. It allows bursts of data but ensures a consistent average rate, like regulating lane usage to avoid bottlenecks.

By deploying these together, you can prioritize important traffic. It prevents DDoS attacks and optimizes network performance for all users.

Employing DDoS Protection Services

DDoS attacks can cripple your online presence. DDoS protection services act as a shield. They filter and deflect malicious traffic before it reaches your servers.

These services offer:

  • Traffic filtering: They analyze traffic patterns to identify and block suspicious activity, like a flood of requests from unusual locations.
  • Attack absorption: They have the infrastructure to handle massive traffic surges. It prevents your network from overloading.
  • Expertise and tools: They provide advanced DDoS mitigation strategies and ongoing support from security specialists.
  • Network Firewall: A network firewall acts as a security guard. It monitors incoming and outgoing traffic to block unauthorized access.

By employing a DDoS protection service, you gain peace of mind knowing your valuable online assets are shielded from attacks.

Implementing CAPTCHA and challenge-response mechanisms

To prevent bots from flooding online forms or registrations, CAPTCHAs and challenge-response mechanisms act as digital gatekeepers. These tests present puzzles for users, like deciphering distorted text or identifying objects in images. These are generally simple for humans, but these tasks are difficult for automated bots. This extra step helps filter out malicious traffic and protects online systems from abuse. This makes a smoother experience for legitimate users.

Building redundancy and scalability

Building redundancy is like having a backup plan for a network. It involves having extra servers, connections, or data storage in case something fails. This keeps things running smoothly during emergencies.

Scalability, on the other hand, is about being ready for growth. By using flexible systems and resources, you can easily add more power when your needs increase. This ensures that the network can handle future demands. 

Together, redundancy and scalability create a robust network that’s prepared for anything.

Conducting regular DDoS simulation and testing

DDoS simulation and testing are like practice drills for a network’s defences against denial-of-service attacks. By simulating real-world DDoS scenarios with controlled traffic surges, you can:

  • Identify weaknesses: Expose vulnerabilities in your network infrastructure or DDoS mitigation strategies.
  • Validate response plans: Test your incident response procedures to ensure smooth execution during an actual attack.
  • Fine-tune defences: Refine your mitigation strategies and security settings based on the simulation results.
  • Get a trained team: Simulations provide valuable training opportunities for your security personnel. It sharpens their skills in recognizing and responding to DDoS attacks.

Regular testing helps you stay ahead of attackers and ensures your network remains resilient against ever-evolving threats.

Build a DDoS-resilient network with Airtel today! 

DDoS attacks are a constant threat. By taking a proactive approach and implementing these steps, you can significantly strengthen your network defenses. This proactive mindset will not only deter attackers but also minimize disruption and ensure business continuity during an attack.

Airtel Secure can provide you with peace of mind by implementing multiple layers of security to the network. Defend against Distributed Denial of Service attacks and avoid security risks by using DDoS Security from Airtel Business.