DDoS attack: how do you explain and avoid it?

On the web there are very many website that have distributed architecture: the resources are not in the same place, not on the same machine, for example. For this reason, in contrast to centralised architectures, this type of network is much weaker in the face of attacks, and most particularly to DDoS attacks, the Distributed Denial of Service.

It is therefore of the utmost importance to understand the nature of this attack in order to protect yourself more effectively.

What is a DDoS attack?

A DDoS attack directly targets sites with a distributed architecture, a type of network that suffers from limited capacity in terms of infrastructure. It is therefore much easier to immobilise it, block it, and thus render the website unusable.

How do the cybercriminals do it?

The more requests the distributed network receives, the less it is capable of processing them correctly and quickly. Cybercriminals skilled in DDoS attacks use this weakness to neutralise these different platforms. The preferred tool for this is the botnet, also known a the “zombie network”.

This consists of several machines infected with a Trojan horse and which the cybercriminal can then easily manipulate. It thus becomes possible to launch massive-scale attacks, using multiple requests from computers remotely controlled via malware, which will then paralyse the distributed network.

If the servers are not capable of managing a large number of requests, the same will be true of any channel with a bandwidth which is also limited in terms of capacity.

What are the effects of a DDoS attack on a website?

It’s easy to see that a highly-requested website with distributed architecture will not have the resources required to ensure optimal functioning. The platform will therefore no longer be able to quickly respond to the different requests.

However, all of the requests or a selection of them can also be ignored. Cybercriminals do not therefore attack the actual structure of the site but, rather, its response capability, making it unusable.

What are the main targets of these DDoS attacks?

It is estimated that the platforms worst affected by DDoS attacks are e-commerce site, casinos, and the sites of online service providers. And why are cybercriminals interested in this sort of attack? In a way, it’s about making a ransom demand.

Money will be demanded in exchange for stopping the excessive number of requests that are paralysing the website. A company with a business that entirely depends on its online platform will therefore prefer to pay the hacker the money rather than see its site rendered unusable and, therefore, pointless.

How can you protect yourself from a DDoS attack?

There are several solutions available to webmasters to protect themselves against attacks like these. The first consists of choosing a web host with care. In fact, numerous service providers offer the option of efficiently fighting against cybercriminals by filtering out botnets or zombie networks.

Setting up a mirror site is another efficient procedure for arming yourself against attacks of this type. It relates to the creation, under a different domain name (with another extension, for example), of a standard copy of the site which will be operational in the case that the original platform fails.

Having an interface that is faster to load and that can offer a suitable response in the case of massive-scale requests is also a solution to keep in mind. Creating a lighter version of the platform or installing a warning system is yet another option that could help companies more effectively protect themselves against DDoS attacks.

How can you explain the drop in the frequency of these attacks?

While DDoS attacks were incredibly wide-spread at the start of the 2000s, a bit of nuance is needed here. Their frequency has, in fact, significantly fallen and this is quite easy to explain.

On the one hand, site owners now know the risks they are up against and usually opt for effective protection methods such as those detailed above. On the other hand, police forces are much more active in relation to new technologies and the web, and this means they can more actively hunt down cybercriminals. Nevertheless, it is still highly important to protect your platform against DDoS attacks. You should know that it is possible to entrust your managed services to our team of IKOULA experts in order to avoid losing time managing server issues.





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