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What is a DDoS attack and How to identify it? - MalwareCare

What is a DDoS attack and How to identify it?

Any online company that wants to stay in business should know how a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack works and have a quick way to stop it.

A DDoS attack is when a server gets flooded with too many requests. An attacker could use up all the space on your network and flood your servers, making them useless. 

In such cases, either your server is down, or you don’t have enough bandwidth to see your site. This will cause your service to stop working and your income to go down. Are you intrigued by this problem? Read on to know more about the solutions.

The Different Types of DDoS Attacks

Since the attack is coming from more than one place, blocking a single IP address won’t help. Attackers who use distributed denial of service techniques infect user systems, such as computers, embedded systems, and IoT devices, with malware. This gives them control over these systems locally and remotely. 

The end goal of a DDoS attack is usually the same: to overwhelm the system. The attack’s methods, however, can vary. Most distributed denial of service attacks falls into one of three main groups.

1. Attacks on the application layer

Server-side processing in response to a client request occurs at the application layer. Simply typing http://www.xyz.com/tourist/ into a web browser will trigger an HTTP request to the server requesting the tourism page. The server collects all the relevant data, formats it into a response, and sends it back to the client.

The application layer is where data is retrieved and organized. Application layer attacks happen when a hacker employs a swarm of bots or computers to make many requests for a single resource from the server. This results in overloading your system.

Common application layer attacks include HTTP flood attacks. Attackers repeatedly submit many HTTP requests to a server from several IP addresses. An instance of this would be requesting a server to produce PDF files. The server cannot identify if it is being attacked since the IP address and other identifiers are always different.

2. Protocol Attacks

The goal of a protocol assault is to use up all of a server’s or network’s resources. For instance, a hacker might target your system’s firewall, routing engine, or load balancer. Protocol attacks also include the SYN flood attack.

A TCP handshake must be done before making a secure connection between two machines. It is a way for hosts to talk to each other to exchange basic information and make their first connection. TCP handshakes start when a client sends an SYN packet to a server to tell it that a new connection is being made.

An attacker using an SYN flood attack would send the server many SYN packets with fake IP addresses. By sending SYN-ACKs after each packet, the server shows that it is ready for the client to finish the handshake. It eventually stops working since it has been waiting for too many answers.

3. Volumetric attacks

In a volumetric attack, the server being attacked gets so much traffic that it can’t keep up. The most common type of volumetric attack is the DNS amplification attack.

The attacker sends queries to a DNS server from the victim’s fake IP address. After the question is processed, the DNS server will send the result to the server that was asked for. The huge number of DNS answers may cause the server to crash.

How to Identify a DDoS Attack

Signs of a DDoS attack could be slow access to website files, inability to get to websites or problems with your internet connection. Using analytics to find them could be a huge help.

Some of these warning signs might be:

  • An unexpectedly high number of visitors trying to access a single URL at once
  • A large amount of traffic coming from a single IP address or a small group of IPs
  • Rapid growth in user activity at irregular or predictable times

Measuring the Impact of a DDoS attack

A DDoS attack happens when many infected computers work together to flood a single target with useless data. This can bring the target down or slow it down. Both factors could occupy IT resources. This enables black-hat hackers a chance to launch an attack, steal sensitive information, or infect the network with malware.

There are three different types of impact.

Small Impact

When a key company program or service is downgraded or, even worse, shut down completely, it can hurt productivity in a big way. This affects remote workers in the worst possible way.

Mid Level Impact

Services must always be available in many fields, like hosting, gaming, and banking. 

Customers who find it hard to get in touch with a business often tell others about it on Google and social media. Hence, companies must maintain an excellent reputation to attract new customers in today’s challenging business environment. 

If a DDoS attack happens, customers may leave as they think the company cannot provide consistent service. These customers may go elsewhere if they are denied access to Internet-facing apps or have trouble with latency.

High Impact

Even though ransomware is a unique type of cyberattack, DDoS attackers have been combining it with ransomware in recent years to force victims to pay a large bitcoin ransom. Businesses don’t want to admit that they paid a ransom.

Steps to take if you are under a DDoS attack

1: Secure your website

To avoid a lot of downtime, you must act quickly when you discover a DDoS attack. If you wait too long, getting everything back up and running could take hours, costing you money and goodwill.

Hence, it is a good idea to get hold of a good  WordPress security team that will keep your site running smoothly.

2: Educate relevant parties

As soon as a possible DDoS attack is found, you need to inform the right people about it. Stakeholders are expected to act right away on a wide range of issues, such as getting ready to answer questions from customers and thinking about the legal repercussions.

3: Get the word out to the people that provide mitigation services (MSP)

All stakeholders must know about the attack, whether the business uses a cloud scrubbing service or a CPE. Most of the time, they can send help fast enough to figure out where the attack is coming from. They take steps to stop it from happening again. They will better understand what could happen after the attack and help prevent such attacks.

4: Review Current Defense Strategies

Unfortunately, DDoS attacks are often sneaky and harmful, damaging much more than is apparent. A lot of research and monitoring are needed to answer the question, “Are the defenses working?”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why is it so challenging to stop a distributed denial of service attack?

The decentralized structure of these assaults makes them similarly challenging to counter. It is challenging to differentiate between valid requests and those that are part of a distributed denial of service assault. You may take certain precautions to lessen the impact of DDoS assault.

2. DCan a firewall stop DDoS attacks?

Complex DDoS assaults are impossible to stop with a firewall since firewalls are vulnerable entry points. Ports in firewalls that are supposed to be used only by authorized users become easy targets for attackers.

3. Is it possible to discover who DDoSed you?

To be specific, no, you cannot. When numerous computers work together, it is called DDoS. If the source of the attack is no longer known, tracing the affected machines is all that can be done.

The Final Word

It might be hard to keep your real users from being affected by a current DDoS attack. That’s why it’s essential to act ahead of time. It’s crucial to have a strategy for responding to an attack, just in case one happens. 

Sharif Hossain Syeed

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