Although not a recent threat, attacks on servers and virtual machines continue to increase and become increasingly complex with technological changes. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, for example, can cause the business to stop operating for hours, even days.
Such cases make cybersecurity fundamental, especially for businesses that operate online and rely on the Internet to perform their operations.
Thinking about this, if you want to reduce the risks of your company, continue reading this article and understand how to identify and mitigate DDoS attacks!
What are DDoS attacks, and how do they work?
DDoS attacks are characterized by volumetry. It is sending packets of data – through Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) protocols – large enough to overload a network, servers, and links, leaving company services temporarily out of the air.
If an organization provides a network with a link limited to 10 Gbps, for example, DDoS will strive to occupy all that capacity alone, making it impossible to connect services.
Attacks like this can occur for a variety of reasons, but the main ones are often political causes or attempts at harm against a particular company.
What are the possible outcomes of this type of attack?
The main impact generated by a DDoS attack is even the operational interruption. That is, if a company has its core business focused on the digital medium, most of the functions are performed virtually. This means that if attacked, it will be out of breath – literally “off.”
In some cases, the unavailability of a central system that is operated in the cloud is enough to interrupt the entire operation.
For example, if the company has a flow of negotiations and exchange information with customers or suppliers through email servers, a targeted attack is enough to cut off all communication.
This can easily extend to ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, reaching the most critical level: reaching the core of operations in SaaS (Software as a Service). Financial losses will be unavoidable in such cases.
How to detect a DDoS attack?
The expansion of the domestic Internet in Brazil facilitates the development of botnets – machines or entire servers that, infected by a virus, serve as links of great capacity to send attacks.
In this way, cybercriminals first create a network of botnets to engineer a massive attack. The virus is then fired and addressed to an Internet Protocol (IP) or specific application.
In this case, as several sources are detected, it is very difficult to identify the responsible criminal, also making it difficult to block.
However, if the target company performs network monitoring functions, it is possible to detect some signals. The main ones are:
- large volumes of unknown data coming in sequence;
- logs demonstrating higher volume requests within the network;
- many alerts being issued by security solutions;
- number of accesses.
What are the actions to mitigate this threat?
Based on the signals we’ve mentioned, some actions can help prevent or minimize DDoS attacks. Let’s see what they are:
First of all, it is important to carry out rigid monitoring of network assets. You need to know exactly what the capacity of the links is and monitor the traffic to know everything that goes through it.
This makes it easier to define a pattern so that any anomalies are detected by the real-time tracking chart.
Once this is done, the main internet stream aggregation equipment needs to be able to detect actions, so that you can know through the real-time logs which requests are coming in at greater volume within the network.
Use of anti-DDoS services
If the company has only one link responsible for the operations and it is connected to the internet with a public IP, an attack directed at it will easily paralyze its systems. However, much of this vulnerability can be mitigated by hiring a specialized DDoS (or anti-DDoS) protection service.
There are now several companies – in Brazil and abroad – that provide this type of service, offering links with high capacity to support the entire flow of data sent by cybercriminals. And they also act in the detection of invalid traffic, blocking what is suspected and freeing the pass only of validated traffics (clients and users of the network, database, and applications).
Depending on the volume, mitigating all attacks with the network itself is something that may be unfeasible, especially in Brazil, where links are expensive. In this case, then, the ideal is for the organization to direct out that high volume of traffic – exactly what a cyber security company does.
In addition to offering larger links to support the entry of large data packets, this provider offers contingency plans, reserving its main network for clean traffic only. The structure is assembled by increasing the bandwidth for the links and main servers, reducing the capacity for links in which the attack is recorded.
A simpler way to combat DDoS attacks is to act quickly by noticing the signals described above. If it is necessary to stay off the air for a moment, for example, just for precaution, do it – it’s still better than letting the attack be completed. This, incidentally, is also possible with a good system of monitoring and control of the network, links, and servers.
Ideally, you should stop access by triggering alerts and then promote an account audit to find logins failures or irregularities. Then you should scan to find suspicious data packets and, finding them, eliminate them.