A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is when a web service or application receives an overwhelming amount of traffic that it cannot respond. The most common way that this is achieved is through the coordinated use of “bots” – devices or endpoints that have had malware installed on them, allowing an attacker to control them.
A DDoS attack will cause a site to crash and can affect both front end and backend communication. This means that as well as customers being unable to reach your site, you might be prevented from communicating internally to resolve the issue. This type of attack is ever evolving and becoming more complex. To respond to this sophisticated threat, organizations need to implement an effective DDoS protection solution.
It can be difficult to understand how the different solutions work, and what you need – with cloud-based, on-premises, and hybrid solutions that cover different communication layers making the choice more complicated.
In this article we’ll explore the top DDoS protection solutions, focusing on those that work at the network, transport, and application layers. Common features include real-time threat detection, reporting, analytics, and multi-layer protection. For each solution, we’ll give some background information, highlight key features, and suggest the type of customer that they’re most suitable for.
What Is A DDoS Attack?
A DDoS attack is a targeted cyberattack that utilizes corrupted machines – known as bots – to all request server access simultaneously. This sudden surge in demand overwhelms the server, causing it to crash and preventing usual activities from being carried out.
How Do DDoS Defense Solutions Work?
DDoS defense solutions are typically comprised of firewalls and filters that can monitor the traffic that is attempting to access a server. If there is a sudden surge, or any other reasons to suspect the requests are suspicious, the filters will block access. This first identification stage can indicate how best to resolve and mitigate the attack.
From here, the filters and firewalls can use tactics like IP address filtering to block specific devices from accessing the server. In some cases, geo-blocking is used as this can block all traffic from a particular region. Limited access can be granted to legitimate users, whilst bulk bot traffic can be denied. This might, however, slow access for the legitimate users too.
In some cases, you may decide to reroute legitimate traffic to an alternative, hidden IP address by changing the DNS. This is achieved through contacting your ISP, and can be a useful temporary solution to fix a small scale DDoS attack.
How To Protect Your Network From Becoming Bots?
While this top 10 article has focused on solutions that prevent your site from falling victim to a DDoS attack, it is worth spending a moment to consider how we can prevent bots in the first place. As bots are a form of malware, preventing your system from being infested will ensure your systems are not used in an attack.
Securing your perimeter is essential if you want to identify and block threats from accessing your systems. You can achieve this through implementing a firewall or endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution.
A firewall acts as a permitter and scans all content that attempts to gain access to your network. It can block known threats or conduct sandboxing and quarantining for unknown content that has the potential to be malicious. Firewalls will prevent the vast majority of threats from being installed on your devices, thereby offering you an essential level of protection.
Endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions will proactively monitor requests and usage at each of your endpoints. If any malicious content is identified, the EDR will work to block the threat using predefined playbooks, as well as AI and ML capabilities. The EDR can carry out threat hunting to trace malware through your system and identify any residual code.
What Are DDoS Solutions?
DDoS solutions give your organizations confidence that DDoS attacks can be prevented, or at least, mitigated. A DDoS attack is when malware-infected devices are used to request site access simultaneously. This overwhelms the servers, causing them to crash, and preventing normal operations and service.
DDoS attacks are evident through the large increase in traffic, withing a short window of time. These requests often come from a specific IP range or from devices that share a behavioral profile (such as devices, geolocations).
DDoS protection solutions will monitor for influxes in traffic, then regulate traffic flow to ensure that servers are not overwhelmed. This can be made more complex with advanced DDoS attacks, known as multi-vector attacks. These use multiple pathways to navigate a systems defenses and overwhelm the network.
Beyond regulating traffic, DDoS solutions can create plans and implementing protocols to mitigate and reduce the damage done by an attack. This might be through increasing network bandwidth, creating blacklists and whitelists, or filtering specific traffic sources. DDoS protection features should identify and log abnormal traffic to help identify future attacks.
What Are The Most Important DDoS Protection Features?
Modern on-premises and cloud-based DDoS solutions are robust and adaptable enough to cope with evolving attack types. An on-premises solution is limited by the bandwidth that your network can use. Increasingly, we are seeing the emergence of hybrid, “best-of-both-worlds” solutions; these combine on-premises and cloud-based capabilities.
Important features to look out for when looking for the best DDoS protection solutions include:
- Scalability: DDoS attacks create a huge influx of traffic in order to overwhelm networks. Your DDoS solution should match your usual level of traffic flow, whilst having the capacity to cope with one of these attacks. Some providers will describe this as autoscaling; the ability for your solution to grow as your organization does.
- Granular controls: Granular configurations and highly customized policies allow you to tailor your solution to your organization, ensuring that protection is targeted and specific. Admins should be able to define policies based on URL, IP headers, geolocation, source IP, and destination IP. Admins should be able to set auto-configured behavior-based traffic profiling policies to enhance this coverage.
- Visibility: Your chosen DDoS protection solution should provide admins with extensive visibility. Teams should receive insights, analytics, and alerts regarding traffic activity, threats, and attacks as they develop in real-time.
- Blacklisting And Whitelisting Capabilities: DDoS mitigation tools should have blacklists and whitelists to easily identify what traffic is permitted access.
- SSL Mitigation: While this feature is not relevant for all organizations, those that experience a high volume of SSL-based traffic and transactions need a solution that supports SSL mitigation. This means that it will supports in-line decryption and traffic re-encryption.