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20
Mar
2023
Best Practices for Identifying and Preventing DDoS Attacks 

Best Practices for Identifying and Preventing DDoS Attacks 

By Joseph Conciatori

If you run a business, chances are the internet is integral to your everyday operations. We use the internet for everything from videoconferencing with coworkers to emailing promotional coupons and transaction summaries to customers. However, malicious actors lurk across the dark web, lying in wait to overwhelm your networks, servers, and services with a deluge of internet traffic¹. Such deluges are called distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and they can be detrimental to your business. If you suffer a DDoS attack, you will lose an average of $22,000 for every minute your company’s networks are down². Keep in mind, too, that restoring service after a DDoS attack costs small and medium-sized businesses like yours a hefty $120,000 on average². 

However, the damage from DDoS is more than monetary. DDoS attacks can also devastate your company’s reputation². When attackers destroy your intellectual property, customer data, or both, customers will consider your business incapable of safeguarding their most sensitive data². Additionally, if customers find that your website is slow or crashes frequently, they will distrust your business and subsequently abandon you in favor of your competitors². Now, you may ask, “How can I keep DDoS attacks from damaging my business?” 

Fortunately, DDoS attacks are preventable. In this article, we will learn more about DDoS attacks, how they work, and best practices you can follow to stop them in their tracks. 

Much like traffic jams on the highway, DDoS attacks prevent your company’s legitimate internet traffic from reaching its intended destination on time¹. These attacks utilize multiple compromised systems as traffic sources, including networked computers and Internet of Things (IoT) devices¹. DDoS attacks work by infecting these systems with malware, giving attackers complete control over them¹. Individual infected devices are called bots, and a group of them is a botnet¹. Once attackers have established a botnet, they can easily direct attacks by sending each bot a set of remote instructions¹. When the botnet targets your network or server, each bot sends requests to the target’s IP address, burdening your network or server and denying service to your business’s regular web traffic¹. Now that you know how DDoS attacks work, we will highlight best practices for preventing them. 

(Image courtesy of https://securetriad.io/stop-a-ddos-attack/)  

One crucial best practice for preventing DDoS attacks is to know your network’s traffic³. Understanding the traffic on your business networks, such as employees, customers, or some combination of both, gives you a baseline so you can more easily comprehend DDoS attack symptoms³. We will now describe some of these symptoms so you can keep a watchful eye out for them. 

If your network slows unexpectedly, your email becomes inundated with spam messages, or your company’s website shuts down entirely as demonstrated by the sample error message below, chances are you are experiencing a DDoS attack³. Therefore, if you notice any or all these symptoms, you must investigate the root cause³. 

(Image courtesy of https://sucuri.net/guides/what-is-a-ddos-attack/)  

Thankfully, you can easily create a plan to respond to any DDoS attacks that occur on your business’s computer systems³. By defining and implementing a comprehensive denial-of-service plan, you can respond more quickly and efficiently when your business’s networks or servers are targeted³. While your DDoS response plan may vary depending on your company’s size and network infrastructure, it must include a detailed set of notification and escalation procedures, along with a skilled response team and systems checklist³. You should also create a list of internal and external contacts to notify about the attacks, as well as a communication plan for customers, vendors, and other stakeholders within your organization³. In short, creating a DDoS response plan helps you prevent attacks or at least mitigate any damage done if they do occur³. 

You should not overlook the benefits of practicing good cyber hygiene, either³. You and your users must not only familiarize yourselves with best security practices such as changing passwords regularly, utilizing secure authentication methods like 2FA/MFA, and knowing how to avoid phishing attacks, but follow these practices every day³. By reducing user errors within your organization, you can better protect your networks and servers even if you are attacked³. 

Still another best practice for preventing DDoS attacks is to increase your company’s network bandwidth³. Just as widening highways alleviates traffic congestion, adding additional bandwidth absorbs larger volumes of business traffic to keep it flowing smoothly and thus reduce the risk of DDoS attacks³. However, this approach does not prevent such attacks from occurring altogether³. Keep in mind that DDoS attacks are continually growing larger, with one reported attack in 2018 including a staggering 1.7 TBPS (terabytes per second) of data³. Nevertheless, expanding your business’s bandwidth to accommodate increased traffic helps keep your networks and servers running like clockwork³. 

If you need solutions to prevent or mitigate DDoS attacks, navitend can help. We offer a variety of managed IT services and support for clients in New Jersey, New York, and eastern Pennsylvania. For example, we provide comprehensive cybersecurity training so you and your employees can easily distinguish phishing emails from legitimate ones, in addition to secure multifactor authentication (MFA) and password management solutions. Our top priority is keeping your networks secure and your business’s internet traffic running smoothly, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. 

Navitend can help you. Call 973.448.0070 or setup an appointment today. 

Sources: 

Cloudflare. “What is a DDoS attack?” Retrieved from https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/ddos/what-is-a-ddos-attack/.  

Cloudbric. “How Much Will a DDoS Attack Cost Your Business?” by Jay Jackson. Retrieved from https://en.cloudbric.com/blog/2021/01/business-ddos-attacks-damages-and-cost/.  

SecurityScorecard. “10 Best Practices to Prevent DDoS Attacks.” Retrieved from https://securityscorecard.com/blog/best-practices-to-prevent-ddos-attacks. 

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