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How to prevent DDoS attacks?


Leo Jefferson

May 6, 2023 | 7 min read
  • Tips
  • Online threats

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are a type of network attack that involves overwhelming a target server with a massive volume of requests, effectively rendering it unable to handle legitimate traffic and causing service disruption or performance degradation. DDoS attacks can impact individuals, businesses, government organizations, etc., resulting in economic losses and reputational damage.


Principles and types of DDoS attacks


DDoS attacks work by leveraging multiple controlled devices (known as botnets) to send a large number of requests to the target server, consuming its bandwidth, CPU, memory, and other resources, thereby preventing it from responding to legitimate requests. DDoS attacks can be categorized into the following types:

① Network-layer attacks

These attacks primarily target the network layer of the target server, flooding it with a high volume of data packets to consume its bandwidth and cause network congestion. Examples include SYN floods, UDP floods, ICMP floods, etc.

② Transport-layer attacks

These attacks mainly target the transport layer of the target server by sending a large number of connection establishment or teardown requests, exhausting its TCP connection resources and leading to connection timeouts or denials. Examples include TCP SYN-ACK floods, TCP RST floods, TCP FIN floods, etc.

③ Application-layer attacks

These attacks focus on the application layer of the target server by sending a significant volume of specific application requests to consume its CPU, memory, database, and other resources, resulting in application crashes or degraded performance. Examples include HTTP GET floods, HTTP POST floods, HTTP Slowloris, etc.


Common objectives of DDoS attacks


① Competitors

Unethical competitors may employ DDoS attacks to disrupt their rivals' business operations or reputation, seeking a market advantage or retaliation.

② Hackers

Some hackers may use DDoS attacks to showcase their technical skills or for political or social purposes.

③ Extortionists

Certain extortionists may employ DDoS attacks to threaten target servers, demanding a ransom payment in exchange for ceasing the attack.

④ Pranksters

Some individuals engaging in pranks may utilize DDoS attacks to maliciously disrupt specific websites or services, such as game servers, social media platforms, etc.


DDoS attacks can have the following consequences


① Service disruption

DDoS attacks can render the target server completely unavailable or provide very slow and unstable service.

② Economic losses

DDoS attacks can result in revenue loss, customer churn, partner attrition, increased maintenance costs, compensation expenses, etc.

③ Reputational damage

DDoS attacks can lower user satisfaction, trust, and loyalty toward the target server, leading to negative reviews, complaints, lawsuits, etc.


How to detect and mitigate DDoS attacks?


Detecting DDoS attacks is challenging since they can camouflage themselves as normal traffic or employ multiple methods and sources to launch attacks. Generally, the following methods can be utilized to detect DDoS attacks:

① Monitoring network traffic

By monitoring changes in network traffic, abnormal spikes, traffic sources, traffic types, etc., can be identified to determine if a DDoS attack is occurring.

② Monitoring server performance

By monitoring changes in server performance, such as CPU usage, memory consumption, bandwidth utilization, connection counts, etc., anomalies can be detected, indicating a potential DDoS attack.

③ Monitoring user feedback

Keeping an eye on changes in user complaints, reviews, unsubscriptions, etc., can help identify unusual behavior and indicate the presence of a DDoS attack.


How to mitigate DDoS attacks?


Mitigating DDoS attacks is also challenging since attackers may continuously change their attack methods, sources, or employ large-scale botnets. The following approaches can be used to mitigate DDoS attacks:

① Prevention measures

By implementing preventive measures, the likelihood and impact of DDoS attacks can be reduced. Examples include using strong passwords, installing firewalls, keeping systems and software up to date, implementing data backups, etc.

② Mitigation measures

By employing mitigation measures, the pressure and damage caused by DDoS attacks can be alleviated. Examples include using load balancing, increasing bandwidth capacity, filtering out invalid requests, switching to backup servers, etc.

③ Emergency measures

By implementing emergency measures, the services and reputation affected by DDoS attacks can be restored. Examples include notifying users, partners, service providers, seeking assistance and support, reporting to law enforcement agencies, etc.

④ Using MetroVPN

MetroVPN is an excellent VPN service that helps hide your real IP address, making it difficult for DDoS attackers to target you accurately and launch attacks.


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