You Should Prepare Your Organization For A DDoS Attack

Cyber security has never been as important, or as weak, as it is in 2020. With nearly all businesses owning an online platform, there’s a huge risk that someone with the proper online tools can attack you. Such attacks come in a variety of forms and not only do they happen every minute, but they end up costing businesses and organizations millions of dollars.
 
One type of cyber crime that has picked up steam in recent years includes the DDoS attack. According to relevant statistics, the number of DDoS attacks increased by 2.5 times from 2014 to 2017, with that number growing even larger in 2020. In addition, the average size of DDoS attacks goes well beyond 100 Gbps, and the cost of an average attack ranges between $20,000 and $40,000.
 
In short, DDoS attacks are serious business, and if you’re running a business, you have to know how to prepare for them. It’s not even a question of IF a DDoS attack will cripple your organization, but WHEN.
 
What is a DDoS Attack?
 
DDoS is short for ‘Distributed Denial of Service’. This type of attack isn’t exactly like hacking or similar methods that invade the system and seek out private information. Instead, the whole process is largely external. To put it simply, it’s an attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of your server by flooding it with excessive amounts of...well, more traffic. 
 
How Does It Work?
 
Think of it this way: if your regular internet traffic is like a highway, a DDoS attack would be a deliberate traffic jam. The people behind the attack would use several compromised computer systems or other networked resources (one such resource includes IoT devices). Each of these individual sources is under the control of an outside actor; we refer to these systems as bots, with a group of these bots being known as a botnet.
 
The typical DDoS attack with a botnet has a specific set of steps:
 
● The malicious party creates a botnet
● This botnet targets a specific server
● Each bot sends requests to the target’s IP address in order to flood it
● With the flooding underway, a denial of service occurs.
 
The biggest issue with DDoS attacks is just how difficult it is to spot them. After all, we can’t easily differentiate between regular and targeted traffic. That’s because every single bot is a legitimate Internet device, even if you control it remotely.
Identifying and Preventing a DDoS Attack. It can be hard to differentiate between the regular spike in traffic and targeted flooding. So, in order to identify a DDoS attack, you should pay attention to the following:
 
● Does the new traffic come from a single IP source (IP range or address)? 
● Do the users who visit your server share the same behavioral profile (geolocation, browser version, device type)?
● Is there a massive surge when it comes to requests directed at a single endpoint or page?
● Do the spikes in traffic occur in unnatural intervals, i.e. every 10 minutes or so?
 
DDoS Prevention
 
There are several methods you can employ to keep your organization safe from DDoS attacks. Keep in mind that this process is always evolving and that you’ll have to revise your safety methods at least once a year.
 
Figure Out Your Security Needs
 
Each business has to have a solid IT safety strategy. After all, it’s a long-term investment that will always be relevant in the digital age. With that in mind, your first step is to assess your business’ cybersecurity needs. Make sure to address other types of attacks as well, such as malware, hacking, phishing, etc. Moreover, don’t forget to share your security strategy with your company personnel in order to cover as much ground as possible. 
 
Maintaining your own systems is key, but nowadays, people tend to bring their own devices to work, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. Those platforms can also become a target of a DDoS attack and act as a gateway to your own setup. With that in mind, implement a solid BYOD (‘bring your own device’) policy within the company. 
 
Make Sure Everything is Up-to-Date
 
It goes without saying, but make sure that you regularly update your systems. These updates should cover both software and hardware, as well as all other relevant security safeguards.
 
Password updates are a top priority here, and more often than not a weak password will act as an opening for a potential attack. So, when developing business-related passwords, make sure to follow these steps:
 
● Each account should have a separate password
● All passwords should contain lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special symbols
● Never use common words or personal info as part of your passwords
● Make sure to change them regularly
 
Consult a Specialist
 
As you can see, protecting yourself from a DDoS attack, or any other attack, is in and of itself a full-time job. Understandably, most companies can’t cover all of that workload. Moreover, few people within a business will know everything about cybersecurity, nor will they keep up with the latest trends in the field.
 
Lots of companies simply outsource this task to outside network specialists. These experts have years of experience in cybersecurity and they will devote all of their time and energy to keeping your business safe. It might be an extra expense at first, but it will literally save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run that you would have otherwise lost to a DDoS attack. 
 
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