Before we debate on the best ways of tackling DDoS attacks, let us first understand what DDoS is all about. DDoS is short for Distributed Denial of Service. It is the technical term jargon for an incident in which hackers attempt to put a computer out of service through a deluge of information requests, causing it to overload. DDoS attacks may sound simple to initiate but some complex IT technology is involved.
Hackers generally make use of a Botnet or a network of computers, servers, smartphones and other such devices that have virus issues. When activated these botnets start sending requests for information from specific web pages and servers. The intent is to target the unique Internet Protocol address of the user.
DDoS attacks have felled major websites in the recent past and that’s why such attacks are dreaded by IT experts and security professionals. Hackers make use of various techniques to send innumerable junk requests to a website. This takes the traffic level of the website to such heights that it becomes nearly impossible for anyone to load any page on that site.
In any type of DDoS attack, the traffic that floods the targeted website comes from numerous sources. In an advanced, well-planned DDoS attack the traffic could originate from hundreds and even thousands of websites, making it literally impossible to stop them with all the technology and security arsenal at your disposal. The current technology is equipped to stop or block a few single IP addresses. Attacks from multiple sources make it impossible to distinguish legitimate users from unethical visitors. That’s why human expertise is also needed along with the latest tools and technology to tackle the growing menace.
There are various types of DDoS Attacks. These include:
These types of attacks target websites by sending large volumes of TCP, UDP and ICPM packets to these websites. In this messy situation, legitimate requests by genuine users get lost. Such attacks are usually supplemented by malware exploitation.
Bandwidth attack is another type of DDoS attack that overloads the targeted website with colossal amounts of data. This can cause severe loss of network bandwidth and equipment resources. The end result is a complete denial of service which renders the website useless.
In this type of DDoS attack, the application-layer data messages work towards depleting resources in the application layer. This results in complete denial of the targeted website’s system services to those trying to access them.
Despite numerous attempts at finding a reliable and effective solution to this problem, it is becoming difficult to contain and control DDoS attacks. It continues to exasperate web security experts as the problem is complex and attacks are becoming increasingly difficult to predict. Human intervention is being touted as one of the most practical and effective way of managing the attack and controlling it in the future.
How Human Expertise Can Help
Human intervention to deal with DDoS was highlighted in the DDoS trend report released by Internet Security Provider in the fourth quarter of 2014. Humans are needed to study and analyze statistics, trends and future attack potential. The report also shares information about the size and frequency of attacks and how the data can be used for future protection. These are some of the key observations
The study offers some interesting facts. More than half of the websites targeted in this quarter were attacked in this quarter were targeted multiple times. Also, the Average Attack Peak Size in 2016 was larger than attacks carried out over the past few years. The study also clearly indicate that the level of complexity of DDoS attacks have remained the same over the years. Continued monitoring using human expertise and technology cam help mitigate attacks and help in creating strategies that can blunt the severity of DDoS attacks.
Why DDoS Is On The Rise
With the rise in factors like cheap cloud hosting, increase in number of cloud computing service users, and easy availability of open source tools, hackers are finding it easy to launch DDoS attacks. It does not require mastering of complex IT skills for hackers to launch such attacks. Novice IT enthusiasts as well as professional cyber-criminals can do it.
As most DDoS mischief-mongers share similar characteristics, companies can easily defend themselves with a little planning. Technology can of course help them deal with the problem but involving human elements can give them a better level of protection. All organization that run a risk of DDoS attacks must have a proper prevention system in place that can keep their websites protected. It is important that such plans must incorporate human intelligence too apart from sophisticated anti-DDoS technology.
Having an anti DDoS attack solution that offers comprehensive protection from all elements of the attack is what companies need for superior protection. The solution must include flexibility to adapt to changing and varied needs of companies.