What is a DDoS Attack?A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is when hackers flood a system, website, or IP address with a high volume of bot traffic. This overwhelms the target, causing it to crash or slow down – ultimately becoming unavailable to legitimate users. DDoS attacks can use network vulnerabilities that organizations may not have considered, including compromised computers, smartphones, and IoT devices. These attacks can be highly disruptive, causing significant financial losses for the affected organization. Unfortunately, DDoS attacks are common – with thousands of attacks occurring each day worldwide. According to a recent report by cybersecurity firm Radware, there was a 15% increase in DDoS attacks from 2019 to 2020, with incidents growing in size and sophistication. Some industries, such as finance, gaming, and e-commerce, are particularly vulnerable to DDoS attacks, reporting more incidents than average. However, all organizations should take steps to protect themselves against DDoS attacks and have a response plan in place.
Different Types of AttacksThere are several different types of DDoS attacks, including:
- Below 40 Gbps Attack: an attack that generates less than 40 gigabits per second (Gbps) in traffic. This may seem like a lot of traffic, but it is relatively small compared to many recent attacks.
- Above 40 Gbps Attack: a DDoS attack that generates more than 40 Gbps in traffic. These are much more difficult to mitigate, as they can overwhelm a network’s resources and cause significant downtime.
- UDP Flood: This type of attack targets the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) – a protocol for streaming media, VoIP, and other real-time applications. The continuous, real-time nature of the UDP makes it easy to launch undetected as the traffic ramps up. A high volume of malicious UDP packets soon “floods” the server, overwhelming it and causing it to become unresponsive.
- ICMP Flood: Another flooding attack that targets the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP). A protocol for network diagnostics and error reporting, this attack floods the target server with ICMP packets until it crashes.
- SYN Flood: This attack targets the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) – used for many types of internet traffic – by flooding the target server with SYN packets (synchronization requests). A server can only handle so many requests at a time, and will eventually crash when overwhelmed.
- NTP Amplification: This DDoS attack exploits a vulnerability in the Network Time Protocol (NTP), which synchronizes clocks on networked devices. This attack spoofs NTP requests to servers, causing them to respond with much larger packets than the original request. Eventually, the volume outstrips the target server’s resources, causing it to become unresponsive.
5 Main Benefits of DDoS ProtectionThere are several key reasons why a business should add comprehensive DDoS protection to their internet:
- Downtime prevention: DDoS attacks can significantly disrupt your business by crashing your website, network, or other online services, resulting in lost revenue and damage to your brand. DDoS protection can prevent or mitigate the impact of these attacks by detecting and blocking malicious traffic before it reaches you.
- Protection against data theft: DDoS attacks can be damaging enough, but they’re often used as a diversion – while your IT team is distracted by the DDoS attempt, hackers break in and steal your data. DDoS protection can keep your team focused on the real threats, keeping your business’s confidential data safe.
- Reputation management: DDoS attacks can cause significant damage to a business’s reputation, as poor security practices reflect badly on the company’s operations. Additionally, a slow or crashed website implies poor quality to a potential customer and can drive them to your competition! Implementing DDoS protection can show your customers that their trust is a priority to your business, and protect your reputation in the event of an attack.
- Regulatory compliance: Many industries and jurisdictions have regulations that require specific security measures to protect customer data. DDoS protection can help you meet these requirements and avoid potential legal or financial penalties.
- Cost-effectiveness: Implementing DDoS protection can seem costly, but the potential cost of a successful DDoS attack can be much higher – both through lost revenue and reputation damage. Compared to the risks of an attack, DDoS protection services provide a cost-effective solution for maintaining online security.