6 Strategies to Protect Against DDoS Attacks in 2021

DDoS attacks are an unfortunate reality for any company. It’s estimated that there are more than two million attacks each day, and not all of them are the same. Some come in the form of a network flood attack, where the perpetrator sends a flurry of bogus traffic to overwhelm your server. Others might resemble a slow-to-attack type of DDoS, which is when the attacker simulates “legitimate” traffic to your website over time.

Regardless of what type it is, these types of cyberattacks can take down your site and expose your data to hackers. Here are six strategies for preventing your business from DDoS attacks in 2021.

Six Strategies for Preventing DDoS Attacks

1: Utilize a Multi-CDN Solution

Multi-CDN solutions take advantage of multiple internet networks, including different types of internet backbones, to deliver your site visitors from a single source. You’ll be able to use a large network of PoPs from multiple CDN providers, which means your visitors can get their content from a globally distributed network – and DDoS attackers will have difficulty pinpointing your original server.

2: Use an out-of-path and inline protection approach

Out-of-path and inline DDoS protection are two separate methods that can be combined for one overall strategy. It’s a unique and effective strategy as best exemplified by services like Maxihost DDoS protection.

Out-of-path protection protects against volumetric attacks by changing your traffic before it reaches your server. This creates a far-flung network of routing points, which makes it difficult for volumetric attacks to take hold.

Inline protection protects against application layer attacks by using encryption to secure the content being delivered from your site to the end-user. Inline DDoS protection is often implemented with HTTP Strict Transport Security, which is a secure method of communicating data across the internet.

3: Use a managed DDoS protection service

Similar to managed IT services, a managed DDoS protection service will take on all the management of your DDoS prevention. However, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach that some managed IT services have, these services will typically customize your DDoS prevention settings to what is best for your business and the infrastructure of your website.

4: Deploy an anti-DDoS solution that includes artificial intelligence

Most DDoS solutions today incorporate some type of artificial intelligence (AI) into their cloud-based prevention tools. AI is software that can learn over time, meaning it becomes smarter and more effective over time. For example, if a network is experiencing a large number of SYN packets, the solution will take the appropriate actions, and begin blocking those packets.

5: Harden and layer your infrastructure protection

Firewalls, VPNs, content filtering, load balancing, anti-virus, and the like are all critical components of a DDoS solution. But because no single component can eliminate the threat, it’s important to constantly evaluate and update these devices. If you add to these firewalls an extra layer of anti-malware tools, such as antimalware scanners, then it’s even more imperative that you update these devices on a regular basis.

6: Recognize the red flags of a DDoS attack

The key to preventing DDoS attacks is recognizing them early on. If you see unusual traffic, including unusually large traffic spikes, anything else out of the ordinary (like a spike in the number of redirects your site performs), slow request times, or increases in IP addresses, then you may be under attack. Advanced systems will do most of the monitoring for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s wise to leave the captain’s chair and let the ship pilot itself.

The Types of DDoS Attacks to Know

There are many types of DDoS attacks, but the three most common are volumetric attacks, application-layer attacks, and protocol attacks.

Volumetric attacks target a website with distributed computers working together to slow down and, over time, knock your site offline. This is the most common form of DDoS attack. They often utilize large bot networks, which are networks of computers all flooding your server with traffic.

In many cases, the owners of the devices being used in DDoS botnets aren’t even aware – they may have been infected with a trojan virus that has since been activated.

Application Layer Attacks target the highest level of the OSI network model, which means they rely on the system underneath your site (your web servers). Think of this as an attack on the distributed components, such as your caching, database, content delivery network, and social media connections.

This kind of attack is difficult to catch in action, because it uses a much smaller network of devices, and because the attacks typically aren’t designed to be immediately noticeable. Your server security may simply assume it is a small increase in traffic to your site.

The final type of DDoS attack is known as a protocol attack. Instead of overwhelming your server with large amounts of traffic, a protocol attack uses a slower, methodical approach. Typically it involves sending partial packets and malformed pings in a much slower fashion, hoping to cause memory buffers that hold data in a cache to overflow.

As a result, the memory buffer is overwritten, which then results in an overwhelming flood of traffic. They may also use a SYN flood tactic, which involves sending a large number of SYN (reply-to-message) requests in the hope that your servers will have too many open connections for your incoming requests to complete.

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