How To Stop A DDoS Attack On Your Business: 5 Actionable Steps

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[Approx. 5 minutes reading time]

There is a lot to consider when it comes to cybersecurity for your business, but one of the more common attacks that is becoming more and more frequent is a ‘Distributed Denial of Service’ attack (DDoS). 

This particular technique involves generating a large amount of malicious traffic that comes from various sources that is all pointed at your servers to try and crash them.

This can affect businesses small and large and can be devastating if you’re not prepared for it. 

In order to help you guard against this, we’ve put together these 5 action steps that you can take to minimize the risk of DDoS attacks and help you to manage them if they occur.

  1. Early Warning System
  2. Have a Bandwidth Buffer
  3. Place Limits at your Network Perimeter
  4. Ask for help
  5. Call a Specialist

1. Early Warning System

When it comes to stopping a DDoS attack, the earlier you can get onto it, the better. 

Every minute that you wait, makes it that much harder to thwart the malicious attempts. 

You need to be able to spot the early warning signs in real time so that you can then action the appropriate defensive plan. 

The way you do this is by having a good understanding of what your typical traffic profile looks like on your servers during normal operation. 

Then, when you pick an anomalous spike in activity, you can investigate that and pick up any potential DDoS attacks that might be in progress.

Of course, in order to do this, you’ll need to have some technology[1] and/or personnel who are charged with monitoring the traffic around the clock so that you can act when this warning system alerts you to something. 

Some of the good software systems on the market include DefenseFlow from Radware and Security Event Manager from Solarwinds. 

If you get the right systems and process in place, you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to respond proactively, rather than reactively.

2. Have a Bandwidth Buffer

Typically, companies will try and keep their bandwidth as lean as possible because they’re trying to save costs. 

They’ll try to match their capacity as close to their typical demand as possible so that the customer gets a great experience, but they’re not wasting money on lots of unused bandwidth. 

The problem with this, is that you leave yourself vulnerable to DDoS attacks as a result. 

It’s worth spending a bit more to create a buffer[2] for yourself so that your servers can handle spikes in traffic in these moments.

This buffer is not going to save you from the attack necessarily, but it buys you time to respond and that is worth its weight in gold during this high-stakes situations.

Image Credit: https://www.tsohost.com/blog/internet-warfare-the-ddos-arms-race

3. Place Limits at your Network Perimeter

Technically, there are a number of things you can do on the perimeter of your network to help stop DDoS attacks. 

You could set a rate limit on your router, you could add filters that ignore certain packets of data, you could increase your time-out settings on open connections, and more[3]

All of these best practices are great ways to build some immunity to these attacks even if they can’t stop them entirely. 

Again, you’re buying time to give yourself a chance to fight back.

 

Speak to your IT team to get these set up properly, or alternatively – work with a professional firm who can help you optimize your network settings in a way that maximizes protection without impacting on the operational requirements of your setup. 

On the software side of things, some of the best options on the market include AppTrana from Indusface, Website Firewall from Securi, and Web Application Firewall from StackPath.

 

4. Ask for Help

You shouldn’t have to fight this on your own. 

The moment that you realize that you’re under a DDoS attack, you should contact your ISP or your hosting provider to alert them to the situation[4]

These companies will have experience in dealing with these attacks and they can pull strings on their side to find more bandwidth, stop and divert traffic, and support you in any other way that they can. 

It’s only through working together with your technology provider that you can stop DDOS attacks of a decent scale.

 

In this vein, make sure you have the contact information of the relevant parties easily at hand so you can contact them immediately in these moments. 

Every minute spent looking for these details can cost you.

5. Call a Specialist

When a DDoS attack is large in scale and sophisticated, the best thing you can do is to call a DDoS mitigation specialist. 

These companies have deep expertise in how to stop DDoS attacks and they can bring their resources, infrastructure, and knowledge to the table to help you. 

Sometimes your ISP or hosting provider will have a partnership with one, but you can also approach one yourself if you are being overwhelmed.

 

Calling in the professionals is your best bet at limiting the damage and fighting back against sophisticated malicious actors.

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Conclusion

As you can see from what we’ve outlined here, DDoS attacks are no joke. 

These things are nasty, but if you stick to these principles, you’ll have a good chance of mitigating the damage and returning things to their normal state. 

This is unfortunately a part of modern day cybersecurity and it’s not something that you can ignore.

 

Here at Continuous Networks, we do offer a variety of managed cybersecurity solutions, so if you are looking for some professional help here – we’re here for you. 

Get in touch today and let’s get started on protecting your company from DDoS attacks and the range of other vulnerabilities that are out there.

References

[1] C. Tsai, A. Y. Chang and M. Huang, “Early Warning System for DDoS Attacking Based on Multilayer Deployment of Time Delay Neural Network,” 2010 Sixth International Conference on Intelligent Information Hiding and Multimedia Signal Processing, 2010, pp. 704-707, doi: 10.1109/IIHMSP.2010.178.

[2] ‘Guide to DDoS Attacks’ from the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center.  https://www.cisecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Guide-to-DDoS-Attacks-November-2017.pdf

[3] ‘How to Stop DDoS Attacks: 6 Steps for Fighting DDoS Attacks’ by Paul Rubens.  https://www.esecurityplanet.com/networks/how-to-stop-ddos-attacks-tips-for-fighting-ddos-attacks/

[4] ‘What To Do When You Are Under DDoS Attack’ by Eyal Arazi.  https://blog.radware.com/security/ddosattacks/2019/10/what-to-do-when-you-are-under-ddos-attack/

[5] ‘Easy Automation Wins Your Business May Be Missing Out On’ by Scott Batchelor.  https://netsells.co.uk/insights/easy-automation-wins-your-business-may-be-missing-out-on

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