What is a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack? | DDoS Protection

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is a hostile attempt to interfere with the usual traffic of a server by overwhelming the target with a flood of traffic, exploiting compromised computers and other internet-connected devices as sources of attack traffic.

But what does that mean?

When a system is under a DDoS attack it results in genuine connections being unable to access the system in question as all the allocated connections are being held hostage by the attacker. From a business standpoint this means that potential customers or clients will be unable to reach your network, this could cause a loss in potential sales or customer loyalty because of the disruptive attack.

How does a DDoS Attack Work?

DDoS attacks are orchestrated by either a singular attacker or by a group. They utilise malware infected devices which are controller remotely by the attacker(s). These infected devices are known as bots, and in a group are known as a botnet.

The attacker will then use a particular set of instructions to the botnet to send requests to the target’s IP address with the ultimate goal of overwhelming the network with false connections, resulting in genuine connections being unable to connect, also known as a denial-of-service (hence the name!)

Because each device within the botnet is a genuine device, differentiating the spam traffic from genuine connections can be difficult in an unprotected server, but the disruption can be limited or halted altogether with the implementation of appropriate DDoS monitoring and protection.

DDoS attacks can come in many forms, click here to learn more on how to defend yourself

Why Would Someone DDoS My Network?

Although DDoS attacks are illegal in accordance to the Computer Misuse Act of 1990, that doesn’t stop the internet suffering thousands of attacks everyday, making DDoS attacks one of the most prevalent forms of cyber threat with a 542% increase in attacks during the first half of 2020. This means that having appropriate DDoS prevention software and hardware has never been more significant in the digital business world. But why would someone choose to attack in this way?

1. Business competition
According to research done by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, more than 40% of businesses targeted by DDoS attacks believe their competitors were behind it. These attacks typically take place on significant days for the business in question, such as major product launches or anything else that would see elevated traffic and sales. When preparing for such events it’s important to prepare adequate cyber security too.

2. Activism & Politics
Some DDoS attacks can be a form of protest, taking down the opposition’s web presence can be a hard-hitting method of objecting to various causes and campaigns. This can range from generalised activism to political protest as most governments rely on web-based communications – and this form of attack has proven to be effective in temporarily disarming government sites.

3. Distraction or Recon
Some DDoS attacks can be a form of distraction, aiming to overwhelm the network and network staff whilst something potentially more sinister happens behind the scenes, such as data theft. DDoS attacks can also be used to test a networks basic security, so it’s vital that you can diffuse any DDoS situation promptly so not to be the victim of a potentially more serious attack later down the line.

How Can I Protect My Network?

1. Visibility & Network Monitoring
The best way to significantly decrease the impact of any incoming DDoS attack is visibility. A lot of DDoS attacks focus on being undetectable, meaning that by the time you realise your network is overrun the damage has already been done to your business.

2. Update Your Security Infrastructure
A team is only as strong as its weakest player, and the same can be said for your network security. Make sure that all your systems and cyber security solutions are up to date. The online world is ever changing, and whilst this means there is always a new type of threat on the horizon, it also means that there is a new solution to diffuse said threat.

3. Use Cloud-Based DDoS Protection
Taking your protection to the clouds is a great way to reduce bandwidth and resource usage compared to hosting it within your private network. These could based solutions aid by absorbing the malicious traffic and distribute it into other areas, preventing the packets from reaching their intended target

4. Talk to a RedSpam Specialist
Different networks require different levels of protection, and our DDoS experts are here with a security solution perfect for your business. Be it our own solution or one of our many established partners, we can provide all the information you need to give your network security the boost it needs – whilst remaining within your budget.