Understanding & Defending Against DDoS Attacks

Fighting against a DDoS attack is really the job of network specialists because you need total control of the server, years of experience and many other skills to effectively fight this type of attack. In fact, DDoS attacks are so strong and hard to stop that many businesses have secretly handed over protection money to stop the attacks.

However, the good news is that DDoS attacks are most commonly against huge businesses, and most of us don’t have huge business websites. If you do face a DDoS attack, it will probably be a small one that’s easier to defend against. Try using these steps to defend against or minimize one of these attacks. What is a DDoS Attack?

A DoS (Denial-of-Service) attack is when a hacker throws a huge amount of requests at your server to overload it. For example, let’s say that your server can handle 10,000 visitors a day. A DoS attack will simulate the request of 20,000 visitors to force your server to shut down. A DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack uses the same principles.

The only difference is the scale. A DoS attack means that one platform is used. A DDoS attack means that the hacker is using an entire network to destroy your server. This gives the hacker much more power. Acquiring a network can be done in many different ways. A hacker can buy a botnet network that uses many different bots to simulate real users. The hacker can also make zombie computers. These are computers, just like yours, that have a small program running in the background that allows the hacker to take control of the computer every now and then. In fact, millions of computers across the world are zombies, but the user never knows the difference.

It just seems like the computer is slowing down. More Bandwidth A DDoS attack works by using up all of your bandwidth within a few minutes. This means that over-provisioning your network to soak up even more bandwidth will minimize or completely advert the attack. Many security experts agree that you should buy 10X the amount of bandwidth that you really need. If you server 60,000 people a day, then buy enough bandwidth for 600,000 visitors a day.

The obvious problem here is that this is expensive, especially if you just have a small website or limited funds. There’s really no reason to go this far unless you have a major corporation or a huge business. Buying double the amount of bandwidth can also help, but it won’t advert the attack. Redundant Servers A DDoS attack can literally melt and destroy servers because they can’t handle the extreme bandwidth requirements.

Some DDoS attacks are so bad that they can even be fire hazards due to all of the heat that they generate. A redundant server is a must if you want to defend against these attacks. Redundant hardware means that hardware is ready to take over if the main server fails. This ensures that downtime is minimal. It also increases the likelihood of the server surviving the attack. Be sure to choose a host that has at least two or three layers of redundancy. Hosting Policies Review your hosting policy or speak directly with the host. What will you do when a DDoS attack happens?

The host will probably say that these attacks are very rare and practically nonexistent. That’s true, but press on and find out what the host will do in this instance. If the host doesn’t have some sort of policy or action plan, then you might want to change to a safer host. Erase Logs If you have access to the server (which is common with VPS and dedicated plans), then you should keep erasing the server logs as quickly as possible.

The sad truth is that the log files might become so huge from the massive number of simulated hits that they alone might cause the server the crash. This is like putting a band-aid on a huge laceration, but it’s better than nothing. It’s actually the most embarrassing way to be shutdown because log files are incredibly tiny. Website Monitoring Using a website monitoring service will tell you when something is wrong with the network. Most monitoring companies don’t include defense services, but you can act on the alert and try to defend yourself and alert the host at the same time.

Conclusion DDoS attacks are malevolent, nasty and just tough to stop. As stated above, there’s really nothing that you can do if you don’t directly control the network and know advanced digital safety protocols. However, there are some things that you can do to defend against the attack, or at least minimize the damage.