Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are increasing in the sheer volume and size of attacks and their impact, severity, and sophistication. Therefore, DDoS attack protection is also becoming more complex and challenging. Simply using a traditional Web Application Firewall (WAF) or increasing the server bandwidth will not protect you from a DDoS attack.
Even when organizations deploy the best anti-DDoS solutions, they need to keep improving and strengthening their DDoS attack protection methods and strategies to stay ahead of threat actors in the fast-evolving threat landscape and ensure the continued availability of their websites and applications. In this article, we throw light on four such actions that every organization must take.
Improving DDoS Attack Protection: 4 Effective Actions to Take Now
1. Run DDoS Testing
Are your DDoS protection solutions and tools doing their job well? How equipped and effective are they at DDoS attack detection, mitigation, and prevention? Do they work proactively, or are they just reactionary and episodic? Do the DDoS defenses help you survive attacks with little to no impact on the website’s/network’s performance?
DDoS testing helps organizations answer these questions and more.
DDoS testing puts your infrastructure and assets through a realistic number of simulated DDoS attacks in secure environments to gauge the effectiveness of your DDoS defenses. They test against DDoS attacks, including low-and-slow, application-layer, and multi-vector DDoS, not just volumetric attacks to unearth security gaps, weaknesses, and misconfigurations.
They offer actionable insights on the strength of the DDoS defenses and enable organizations to improve their DDoS protection continuously. For instance, you may find that security misconfigurations are putting your server at risk, or that outdated/insecure code weakens web security.
The key is to regularly perform DDoS testing. Being irregular or not performing these tests is like taking your software live without performing testing and Q&A or worse, allowing attackers to run these tests, find weaknesses in your defenses, and exploit them. Based on these insights, you can take necessary actions and harden your security posture against DDoS.
Organizations can run DDoS tests by themselves, or they can hire the services of certified experts to run these tests. In either case, they yield high ROI and enable you to boost DDoS attack protection.
2. Leverage CDN Services and Caching
By activating CDN along with your next-gen WAF solution, you can massively increase the effectiveness of your DDoS attack protection.
CDNs or Content Delivery Networks are globally dispersed networks of edge servers that ensure safe, secure, and seamless transfer of assets to load internet content and accelerate website performance without compromising security. It relies on caching to do so.
Caching is the process of storing copies of files and content in caching servers across the global network. The caching servers close to the users serve the content, not the origin server.
CDNs can handle thundering herd surges and sudden traffic spikes without having to increase the server bandwidth. Therefore, downtimes, crashes, and hardware failures caused by DDoS attacks are prevented. No requests reach the origin server directly, which helps protect the server from malicious requests. Since the assets that produce the content are stored in the provider’s network, it is massively reducing the ability of attackers to take down the network.
If you use a cloud-based, intelligent WAF, deploy a CDN and maximize the use of caching to reduce your attack surface proactively. When a next-gen WAF solution is placed at the network edge in combination with the CDN, organizations can engage in granular monitoring of all incoming traffic and prevent a whole range of cyber-attacks and enhanced DDoS attack detection and protection.
3. Deploy Double DNS
DNS is the internet’s phonebook that converts human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses and vice versa. Organizations typically use managed DNS services that store DNS records of websites, enabling internet access to the website. If attackers exploit this managed DNS service hosting the DNS records, the organization’s website becomes unavailable to users.
By deploying double DNS services, you have another DNS network running simultaneously. If one network goes offline or has degraded performance, another backup DNS network is running. Deploying double DNS helps build redundancies into the network and load balancing, thus improving DDoS attack protection.
4. Develop and Implement a Proper DDoS Response Playbook
This may sound trivial, but it is a critical step to improving your DDoS attack protection. A DDoS Response Playbook, when clearly defined, developed, and communicated, helps your teams to respond in a faster, more effective, and controlled manner to DDoS attacks. When the response playbook is not adequately developed and communicated, employees would not know who to call or report anomalies, thus detection and mitigation suffer.
The Way Forward
Take these four actions today to bolster your DDoS attack protection. Additionally, leverage an intelligent, always-on DDoS attack prevention solution like AppTrana to protect your organization from complex and sophisticated DDoS attacks.