6 Things You Can Do to Prevent a DDoS Attack

DDoS attacks are one of the most prevalent dangers in the modern cyber world. Distributed Denial of Service attacks involve numerous malicious requests being sent to your server by an outside party attempting to overload it. The dangerous party sends in thousands upon thousands of requests to your server until it gets bogged down and can no longer respond to them efficiently. While it doesn’t matter if these requests function for the hacker, unfortunately when your server is bogged down it can’t handle real requests from real users either. The result of a successful DDoS attack is a site performing slowly or altogether freezing on users.

If you fall victim to a DDoS attack it can be detrimental to your success. Whether it’s operating a retail site or hosting a dedicated server for your favorite videogame, users are going to stop coming back if their server performance is poor. Here are six things you can do to prevent a DDoS Attack.

1. Monitor Your Logs

Every second you are unaware of an attack is another second of damage being done. For this reason, having a verbose logging system set up can drastically increase your ability to react. Logging helps you understand everything that is happening under the hood of your server and react accordingly. Without it, if something breaks you can find yourself up a creek without a paddle unsure of how to fix things.

Logging can help you identify if something isn’t working as expected, but it can also empower you to know what parts of your server are being hit the hardest. Tools like Splunk can help you see the broad-scale number of requests while also digging down into specific pages on your site. This way you can see if there is a vulnerability or if one part of your site is being hit extremely hard. However your server is hosted, make sure that you have logging set up to help you preemptively avoid issues.

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2. Identify the Source

This goes hand in hand with logging, but while logging can help you find where the issue is taking place, you need to act afterward. Otherwise, you’ll just be watching things fall apart. Utilize your logging tools to find out where the DDoS requests are coming from, if there are a number of suspicious IP addresses you can then take actions explicitly against them.

This may involve tarpitting them or locking them out entirely. Tarpitting involves slowing down the response times for requests (like if you were walking in a tar pit) and can help you block DDoS attacks without a hacker immediately realizing their attack isn’t working. Whatever the method you choose, knowing where the attacks are coming from is helpful, and the sooner you can pinpoint an IP the better.

3. Scale Up Your Bandwidth

If you’re actively combatting a DDoS attack but can’t resolve your vulnerability immediately, then scaling up can temporarily ease the pain. With a scaled-up server, you can continue to serve real users while also accepting requests from the DDoS attack. This of course isn’t an ideal fix as it becomes costly over time, but it can help you survive long enough to make effective change.

This is one of the reasons having a hosting plan that enables easy scaling is a must. Without it, you won’t be able to react to changes in server demand in a timely manner, which can end up costing you a ton in the long run. There are plenty of reasons you’d want to be able to change your server size other than cyber attacks too. For example, you may want to scale up and down to match market trends if you know users tend to flock to your site during certain times of the year. If you’re having a Christmas sale you don’t want to leave users in the dust, but you also don’t want to overpay for a large server if it’s not needed in July.

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4. Have a Response Plan Prepared

If your server is even moderately sized, odds are you will draw the attention of someone who tries a DDoS attack. When that time comes it’s much better to find yourself with a planned response rather than scrambling. Knowing the differing priorities of parts of your server and what to do when things go wrong can be the difference between life and death (of the server, not you).

Proactive behavior is the smart way to prepare for disaster. Part of that also involves having a vmware disaster recovery plan if things do go awry. User data needs to stay secure and safe, so make sure your server has a backup plan and you can keep all the info necessary to keep users coming back. The last thing you want is for loyal users to jump ship because their hard-earned progress suddenly disappears.

5. Bring in the Experts

No one man can do everything. We like to think they can, but sometimes delegation is imperative to success. When it comes to server security this idea holds just as true, and you may be better off bringing in experts from the field. Experience against DDoS attacks can drastically increase a hosting provider or team’s ability to tackle future incidents, which is partially why so many providers offer built-in protection against DDoS. If you’re running a large server, odds are you have a decently sized team to support it as well, but unless you have the manpower (and skill level) to tackle DDoS, reinforcements will probably be needed.

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The cyber-world is an ever-evolving one, and as such new vulnerabilities and protections are always popping up. This makes it hard for average day individuals to keep up with changes and stay safe, but if you have a team of people dedicated to cybersecurity then you can rest easy and focus your time on the other aspects of what makes your business or website great.

6. Maintain Strong Security Architecture

Building off #5, use a hosting provider or team that knows all of the best practices for a strong security architecture. Building things up the wrong way might create easy shortcuts when you’re getting started but end up being extremely costly in the long run. Think of this just like a building; without a solid foundation and proper reinforcements you might be able to get the house to stand up, but when winter comes along, and snow/wind begin to hit your house will crumble under the pressure. Make sure things are done the right way so that you only have to do them once.

Hopefully, you will never have to personally experience the damages of a DDoS attack, but it is well within the realm of possibility. They are prevalent in the modern world and are growing at a rapid pace. Finding the right plan for protection against DDoS will greatly reduce your stress level, and referencing these six tips can help you and your business stay safe while continuing to thrive.

 

 

 

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