The typical small business computer network is a robust, stable environment thanks to modern technology and, hopefully, forward-thinking security design. But the fact remains that any network, despite their design, can only handle a finite amount of traffic. When a hacker wants to disrupt your network, whether they are motivated by mischief, revenge, or activism, they can use a large group of computers called a botnet that act in concert to overwhelm your network with requests. This is a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Your system is inundated with large amounts of of data that it can’t handle. Depending on the severity and the type of attack, if your network is targeted, it could be down for hours, days, or even weeks.
There are a number of different types of DDoS attacks:
Application Layer Attacks
Attackers load the bots with complicated requests that push the server to the breaking point as it tries to respond. These could be requests for downloads or database access. If your server gets several million such requests during a short time, it can slow down or stop completely.
This targets the networking layer of the system. Network services handle requests one at a time, and a protocol attack is aimed at overloading the requests that are waiting to be processed. A SYN flood attack is a specific version of this. The attacking bots create a request from a fake IP address. The target then sends an acknowledgment to the fake address, which never responds. The system then waits for the response to time out which ties up resources and slows everything to a crawl.
Denial of service attacks are based on a volume of traffic. Volumetric attacks involve an exponentially greater amount of traffic than the server can handle. Since the attacker floods the network with data, the server has to keep checking all the requests which means there is no room left over for legitimate web traffic.
The growing danger of DDoS attacks
DDoS attacks are becoming more and more destructive to businesses. In the 1990s, 150 requests per second would be enough to bring a server down. Recent DDoS attacks have been measured at up of 1.35TB of information at one time. To make things more difficult for businesses, DDoS attacks are very easy to execute. Anyone with an ax to grind and enough money for a nominal fee can arrange to execute a DDoS attack against any target they want.
How can SBT keep your networks safe?
The good news is that even major DDoS attacks can be handled without significant loss of service if you have enough planning and preparation. How do we do this?
Assess the infrastructure
Understanding the system, its age, potential vulnerabilities, and existing weaknesses. Depending on what it is your business does, your network can be a complicated being and the more complex it is, the more difficult it will be to prepare.
Create a DDoS response plan
Despite its complexity, your network can be secured from this type of attack. It is important, however, to have a developed plan with a systems checklist, a defined response team, and documented procedures that define how your organization will respond to the attack.
Build and maintain a solid network infrastructure
Outdated networks carry the highest risk and have the most loopholes that a DDoS attack can exploit. Besides technology upgrades, we include advanced intrusion prevention and threat management systems to your network. This, combined with continuous updates and penetration testing will ensure your system can handle a DDoS attack.
Network Security and Peace of Mind
When you have a robust network, a solid plan, and the latest updates, you gain the peace of mind that your system can handle whatever the internet can throw at it. SBT Partners are experts at keeping your systems secure. We will be there to monitor your traffic, measure your activity, and respond to DDoS attacks as they happen. This mitigates the potential damage and reduces the amount of costly downtime your business will suffer.