What Is DDoS Attack? How to Prevent Them In 2021?

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With the changing security landscape, hackers have now become more sophisticated than ever before. They now use advanced tools and techniques to launch an attack, and one such spell is the DDoS attack. You might have heard about it in the news or on various social media platforms but not precisely what a DDoS attack is. Well! You’re not alone here. The majority of people like you think it is a severe crime that can target big tech companies like Apple and Google. But, they’re wrong because DDoS can target anyone. Today’s article focuses on:

  • What is a DDoS attack?
  • What are its types?
  • How dangerous is it to ordinary users?
  • How to detect a DDoS attack?
  • Tips to prevent it

The DDoS attack is an attempted attack on multiple machines to target a single host. The attacker can bring down giant companies by these attacks by merely overloading their servers with requests that they can manage. 

These attacks have become much more common than in the past. Stats reveal that DDoS attacks’ frequency rises to more than 2.5 times between 2014 and 2017. DDoS attacks are scary to a significant extent. If you own a company and don’t have any strategy, then it is difficult to protect against the dangers of DDoS attacks. One way to minimize the effects of a DDoS attack is to use a reliable VPN. But, there are other ways to safeguard yourself. 

To get more insight into the topic. Let’s jump into the main article.

What Is A DDoS Attack?

A DDoS- distributed denial of service attack is a cyber-crime that disturbs the connectivity or network services to disable users’ service. The purpose of a DDoS attack is to take control of the website. When hackers take down the website, it slows down the speed to access your website. As a result, either user takes a long time to access the site or it becomes inaccessible to them. 

To initiate a DDoS attack, the malicious agent needs a botnet. It is an extensive network of infected devices that a bot herder controls. In a DDoS attack, hackers target all the vital services, like the web services and platforms used by banks, companies, and governments. There are three different kinds of DDoS attacks and aim to target a victim to damage their network infrastructure. 

The malicious agents send out the malicious code to hundreds and thousands of computers and instruct them to send requests to a single organization. Here the botnets come into play as they are the ones who do this work. They are a group or network of infected malicious software that’s controlled by the hacker.

Three Common Types of DDoS Attacks

In a DDoS attack, the attacker crashes the website with much traffic, and as a result, the website becomes unavailable for you. There are different ways by which an attacker launches a DDoS attack. Below are three common types of DDoS attacks:

Application Layer Attacks

As the name implies, the application layer attacks target any specific application. It can be web servers or any other applications like the SIP services in VoIP. These attacks focus on particular vulnerabilities that cause the application not to deliver any content to the users. Application layer attacks are first launched on IoT devices, and from there, they target the apps.

Protocol Attacks

These attacks’ main target is the networking layer of the targeted system. They crash the servers and firewalls by malicious connection requests targeting layers 3 and 4 of the communication protocol.

Volumetric Attacks

The most common example of a DDoS attack is the volumetric attacks. In this attack, the hacker uses a botnet to generate massive traffic on the network. As a result, it decreases the bandwidth and increases the server loading time, because of which the legitimate traffic can’t reach the website. 

How to Detect a DDoS Attack?

It is hard to detect a DDoS attack because it resembles when your device becomes infected with a virus or faces connectivity issues. Most people believe that only with a professional diagnosis, you can identify a DDoS attack. Although it is correct but not entirely. If you noticed, some signs confirm that either you’re a victim of a DDoS attack or not. These signs include:

  • Can’t access any website
  • Inability to access any particular website
  • Internet connectivity issue
  • Spam emails in bulk
  • Slow or failure to access files and other vital data 

How Dangerous is DDoS to Ordinary Users?

A DDoS attack can cause significant damage to a user; hence you should remain well informed regarding it. There are various aspects or circumstances through which a DDoS attack can cause trouble to an ordinary user. If you have your website, it is vital to adopt every possible means to safeguard your host site’s IP address. Once your IP address gets secured, it gets tough for the hacker to launch an attack. You can use a VPN or shift your website to a hosting service that provides DDoS protection. 

If you don’t have a website, don’t think that you can remain safe because you can still become a DDoS attack victim. If you install the wrong software on your device, your device can quickly become a part of the botnet, which hackers can use to spread DDoS attacks. You don’t know, but you can be a part of hacking, and it might also slow down your connection speed. 

Things don’t end here. The attacker can also target you via email, text messages, and phone calls. In all methods, their goal is the same and, i.e., to get the targeted victim’s details. It can be your IP address or email address; hackers are smart enough to get your IP address even with your email address.

 The best way to deal with this is to follow some strategy that can prevent DDoS attacks. But what should the plan be? Let’s find out about it in the next section.

How to Prevent DDoS Attacks?

When you fall victim to a DDoS attack so, the results are adverse. It doesn’t cost you millions, but there are other long-term losses of these attacks. For example, you have to experience the loss of business reputation, customers, and band degradation. All these factors lead to damage to your business model. The best approach is to follow some security practices to protect yourself against DDoS attacks.

The following mentioned below are some main ways by which you can prevent a DDoS attack:

Practice Network Security

Start practicing the necessary network security that is essential in keeping your business secured. Strong cybersecurity culture is the first step towards combating cyber-crimes. It includes using strong passwords across all your accounts, updating your software, and being aware of phishing. All these methods serve as a foundation step in preventing a DDoS attack.

Develop a Strong Network Architecture

It would be best if you focused on your network infrastructure as it acts like a rock-solid wall in front of the hackers. Businesses should invest in expanding their network resources. It is crucial because if one network gets attacked, the other ones can withstand extra traffic pressure. It is also an excellent idea to extend servers in different locations because when you have an expanded network, attackers find it difficult to target you. 

Create an Attack Response Plan

Make sure you have an attack response plan to deal with a DDoS attack within your organization. Your goal should be to maintain and continue the business operations when a DDoS hits your business. Having a checklist to see if your assets have advanced threat detection will also be of great importance. There should be a special team that should have predefined roles in case a DDoS attack is successful.

Configure Your Firewalls and Routers

Another way to prevent DDoS attacks is to configure your firewalls and routers. You should update your firewalls and routers with the latest security updates as they are the first protection line. Firewalls are the intermediary pathway of your network. If they analyze any vulnerable data packet, so they block it and secure you.

Invest In a VPN

Last but not least, the best method to prevent a DDoS attack is to use a VPN. It protects you from all snooping eyes. With a reliable VPN, you remain anonymous over the internet because it masks your IP address and encrypts the data traffic. Nobody can detect what you are doing on the web, thus giving you complete internet freedom. When your activities and identity remain unknown, hackers can never target you.

Parting Words

A DDoS attack is a severe form of cyber-crime that can have significant adverse effects on an organization. Such attacks are launched through a botnet, and either they slow down the server or completely shut it down. There are different ways by which an attacker can launch a DDoS attack. Because of this, it sometimes becomes challenging to identify a DDoS attack.

 But, you can always notice some signs as mentioned-above and can detect if you’re a victim of a DDoS attack or not. Once you get confirmed that you’re being targeted, the next thing you should do is to follow some preventive measures. You can update your firewalls, develop a response plan, or even practice the network security to prevent the effects of a DDoS attack. But, the best way is to use a VPN and remain protected over the web. 

Kenneth G Aranda

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