How To Stop A DDoS Attack On Your Business: 5 Actionable Steps [2022 Update]

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[Approx. 5 minutes reading time]

There is a lot to consider when it comes to cybersecurity and normal traffic protection for your business. But one attack that is becoming more and more frequent is known as a ‘Distributed Denial of Service.’

To protect your business, it’s important to know how to stop a DDoS.

But First, What Is a DDoS Attack?

DDoS attacks work by generating a large amount of malicious traffic.

It comes from various malware-infected computers that are all pointed at your servers to try and crash them.

A DDoS is a service attack that slows down your website.

It can even block or slow down online services such as emails and web apps.

It is estimated that your business can lose up to $120,000 in damages for every DDoS attack that you experience.

You cannot sweep under the rug that kind of financial expenditure.

The potential reputation loss and damage to existing client relationships could also be catastrophic.

It is important to realize, successful DDoS attacks do happen and are increasing year after year.

In fact, studies show that DDoS attacks have increased by 44% worldwide in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter.

Whether you own a small business or a large enterprise, you are at risk for sudden surges to your business website.

This can be devastating if you’re not prepared for it. 

The good news is that you do not have to sit around waiting for your website to become a victim of a successful DDoS attack.

Take measures today to safeguard your business and fight back against this hidden enemy.

DDOS attacks can be hard to combat.

But when hackers decide to attack, there are measures you can take to fight back.

The following are proven ways to prevent a DDoS attack from sending you malicious traffic.

To help you guard against this, we’ve put together these 5 action steps.  

You can proactively minimize the risk of DDoS attacks.

And manage them if they occur.

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

1. Early Warning System of DDoS Attacks

When it comes to stopping a DDoS attack, the earlier you can catch 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.

Then you can activate the appropriate defensive plan. 

You do this by having a good understanding of what your typical traffic profile looks like during normal operation. 

Then, when you pick up on the suspicious activity, you can investigate and intercept web traffic that may be a potential DDoS attack in progress.

Signs that You Are Experiencing a DDoS Attack

Identifying DDoS attacks on your website can be difficult, but there are major signs that can indicate you are under a DDoS attack.

These include:

  • Sudden and odd increase in website traffic
  • Your ping requests result in time out errors
  • There are multiple requests with the same IP address
  • Your web server is under ‘503 Service Unavailable’

Of course, in order to do this, you’ll need to have some technology [1].

And/or you may need a resource that will provide continuous monitoring of the traffic around the clock.

As a result, you can act when this warning system alerts you to something. 

One of the effective software systems on the market includes DefenseFlow from Radware. Security Event Manager from Solarwinds is another option.

If you get the right systems and processes in place, then you’ll put yourself in the best possible position.

You can respond proactively, rather than reactively.

*** PRO-TIP ***

If you’re working with an external cybersecurity service provider, they should be undertaking periodic penetration testing of your network and web application firewall, to test and intercept web traffic with complete security monitoring and block attacks from occurring.

2. Have a Bandwidth Buffer for DDoS Protection

One of the effective ways to prevent most DDoS attacks from ruining and blocking legitimate traffic on your website is to increase your bandwidth.

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.

This allows the customer a great experience while also not wasting money on unused bandwidth.

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

Getting more bandwidth can help your website become more DDoS resistant.

The hackers will find it harder to overwhelm your website with malicious traffic.

It’s worth spending a bit more to create a buffer[2] for yourself.

Do this so your servers can handle spikes in regular and fake traffic.

This buffer is not necessarily going to stop a DDoS attack but it buys you time to respond.

And that is worth its weight in gold during high-stakes situations.

It may be easy and cheaper to put aside considering an additional bandwidth.

It is important to remember that this safety measure gives you the flexibility to manage traffic spikes.

Think of it like an extra lane opening up on the highway.

It relieves the pressure created from a DDoS attack trying to use up all of your bandwidth.

And it helps avoid a virtual traffic jam.

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 prevent DDoS attacks. 

You could set a rate limit on your router, you could add filters that ignore certain packets of data, or you could increase your time-out settings on open connections.

Update Your Network Hardware Configurations

Updating your network hardware configurations periodically can prevent malicious traffic and DDOS attacks from invading your website.

Threats for DDOS attacks can happen, for example, when you aren’t able to configure your router or firewall to block DNS responses outside your network perimeter.

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 together with a professional firm that optimizes your network settings.

They will do so in a way that maximizes protection without impacting the operational requirements of your setup.  

Some of the best options for software on the market would be AppTrana from Indusface.

You could also use Website Firewall from Securi or Web Application Firewall from StackPath.

Adding web server protection can boost your network security settings.

These companies help monitor the severity of an attack, as well as the location of the attacker.

They may even be willing to work with you directly to stop or mitigate an attack.

4. Ask for Help

 You can’t effectively fight this on your own. 

The moment you realize that you’re under a DDoS attack, contact your ISP or 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. 

Together with your technology provider, you can prevent DDOS attacks of a decent scale.

In this vein, make sure you have the contact information of the relevant parties easily at hand.

Ensure you can contact them immediately in these moments. 

After all, every minute spent looking for these details can cost you.

Consider Server-Level Protection Against DDOS

Some web host offers server-level DDoS mitigation tools and features.

And it’s important to ask your web hosting company whether or not they offer server-level protection.

In the instance that your web host includes this DDOS mitigation feature, make sure that you add this to your plan.

Seek Help from Your Hosting Provider

When sudden and unexpected surges occur on your web server, it’s crucial to immediately seek help from the experts in stopping DDoS attacks.

Contact your hosting provider and let them know that you are under a DDoS attack.

Your ISP or hosting provider can provide solutions to stop bad traffic from overwhelming your server.

They can also disconnect your router to divert the hackers.

5. Call a Specialist

Stopping DDoS attacks can be tricky.

In fact, there are various versions including network layer DDoS attacks and application-layer attacks.

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

You can find a specialist from a reputable IT services provider.

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

Companies like Continuous Networks, offer in-depth and sophisticated protection or withdrawal against DDoS attacks.

DDoS mitigation services provide cyber security that you can utilize to protect your business website from malicious and destructive DDoS attacks. 

These companies are often professional cybersecurity analysts and have extensive expertise in how to stop DDoS attacks.

And they can bring their valuable resources, infrastructure, and knowledge to the table to help you. 

This could include the implementation of more aggressive blocking rules at a network level, uncovering application vulnerabilities, and improving app security.

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

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.

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What to Do If Preventative Measures Fail

Unfortunately, nothing is 100% foolproof, no matter how prepared you might be.

If you are unable to prevent an attack from occurring altogether, there are still steps that can be taken in order to reduce the impact of the situation.

Host on Servers with DDoS Protection

Firstly, have your website hosted on servers with DDoS protection.

This will ensure that your site can withstand a large amount of traffic and remain online.

Make Sure Your ISP is Aware

Secondly, make sure that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is aware if you suspect an attack against them may be happening.

They will then contact the provider of the attacking machines to disconnect the source of the problem or null route their IP addresses.

This way, even if they are able to overwhelm your server traffic, they will not be able to find it.

Seek a Service that Offers Protection

Thirdly, there are services that provide protection against DDoS attacks.

These companies can help monitor if an attack is happening and how severe it is as well as the location of the attacker.

They may even be willing to work with you directly in order to stop or mitigate an attack.

Invest in Measures to Protect Yourself

Lastly, invest in the right security measures to protect yourself against these types of attacks.

This may be a firewall or Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) that detects suspicious traffic and blocks it before it has the chance to take your website offline.

They are regularly updated so you can stay ahead of any new threats as they arise.

How to Keep Your Business Running If a DDoS Attack Occurs

Now that we have covered how to prevent and what options exist in the event of an attack, let’s focus on how you can actually continue operating should one occur.

Contact Your ISP

Firstly, if you haven’t already done so, you need to contact your ISP and make sure they are aware of the attack. Teach them how to monitor and deal with it as well as how it impacts your business by providing proof such as graphs or statistics from a traffic monitoring service.

By doing this, they will better understand how much money each second of downtime costs you and may be more willing to help.

Contact the Service That Provides DDoS Protection

Secondly, contact the service that provides DDoS protection.

If you have one already, they will be able to provide insight on how best to handle the attack as well as how it is impacting your business and what resources are being used at this time.

This way, if an attack continues or gets worse you can take appropriate steps to resolve the issue.

Implement Mitigation Steps

Lastly, how to stop a DDoS attack once it begins depends on how severe it is.

If there are mitigating factors that reduce how much damage an attack can do (i.e., you use mitigation services or your ISP null routes IPs), then all hope may not be lost!

However, if neither of those is the case, you may be faced with how to stop a DDoS attack after it occurs.

Depending on how severe an attack is and how much damage has already been done, your options for how to stop them are limited.

For example, if the DDoS protection service does not provide mitigation services (i.e., they can only monitor and report on attacks), then it may be best to contact your hosting provider and ensure that they are aware of how severely the attack is affecting you.

If an attack takes place in addition to another issue (i.e., hardware failure or software bug) and there isn’t a secondary backup, this will make stopping a DDoS attack even more difficult.

By following these steps, you will be able to stop a DDoS attack on your business and ensure that it continues running smoothly even when under duress!

That way your company can continue operating at its best while the matter is resolved.

Conclusion: Prioritize Protection to Stop DDoS Attacks

There you have it, those are the five practical steps that you can take to stop a DDoS attack on your organization. 

Server invasion and DDoS attacks can happen whether you own a small business or a large company.

So, if you are starting in the digital business, make sure that you also consider keeping an eye on preventive maintenance against DDoS attacks.

Prepare and plan your cybersecurity like you prepare and plan a bullet-proof business plan.

However, if unexpected and malicious signs of DDOS occur, it’s essential to immediately seek help from experts.

While your service provider only does preventive measures, a cybersecurity company mitigates DDoS attacks and takes that worry off your plate.

Continuous Networks is a certified, professional, and highly-skilled DDoS attack mitigation specialist.

We help protect your business and secure your profits.

In this digital era, DDoS attackers are not going anywhere. The best thing you can do is talk to one of our IT specialists to help prevent attacks.

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

Get in touch today and let’s get started protecting your company.

We’ll show you how to stop a DDoS attack as well as a 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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