It’s everywhere in the media, a tech buzz word that has us all scratching our heads. So, what exactly is a DDoS attack and how can it harm your business?
In a nutshell DDoS stands for a distributed denial of service attack. Imagine a very high volume automated attack sending large amounts of malicious traffic to saturate all available bandwidth and server resources powering your website, essentially crippling the availability of your site. These attacks prevent legitimate traffic from reaching you. They are more common than you think, so finding tools to protect your business is an absolute online essential.
The power and harm of a DDoS attack is evident in the recent NZ Stock Exchange attacks. Attackers are often motivated by targeting for random demands or with the malicious intent of wiping out competition.
How Freeparking keeps you safe
At a very high level Freeparking provides DDoS mitigation across all our services out of both our Auckland and Christchurch data centres. Only legitimate traffic is passed through to Freeparking networks.
Our upstream network provider offers us DDoS mitigating layers on a network level to ensure attacks of a volumetric nature get dropped from the originating country. However, as attackers learn the thresholds from which these tools start kicking in, we offer additional protection to our customers directly via our SiteLock product which offers access to the SiteLock CDN.
A CDN acts as a front for your website. Because they have a vast number of servers geared for absorbing large amounts of traffic, your website never truly gets attacked because all the traffic gets routed to a “cached” version of your website living on the CDN.
How to protect your business
Because DDoS attacks can vary in nature there is more than one method to protect your website or service.
The best protection against attacks is using secure application design and/or by using a Web Application Firewall in front of the website.
Web Application Firewall (WAF)
For normal malicious bots trying to find holes in your website and where to break in, the Sitelock WAF (Web Application Firewall) does a great job to ensure your site blocks all the nasty elements trying their luck. WAF prevents bots breaking in where you have weak spots on your website.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
You can also use a CDN or caching service such as SiteLock mentioned above or Cloudflare to protect your website. A service like this allows the CDN provider to filter the incoming traffic and only pass legitimate traffic through to your back-end web server.
So whatever you choose, it’s important that business owners do choose. Giving serious consideration to website security is an online essential.
Top DDoS mitigation tips
- Use an internet provider who offers DDoS mitigation capability like Freeparking.
- Host your public facing websites, servers and infrastructure with a provider who provides DDoS protected internet connectivity, such as Freeparking.
- Use a CDN or caching service such as SiteLock or Cloudflare to protect your website. A service like this allows the CDN provider to filter the incoming traffic and only pass legitimate traffic through to your back-end web server.
- Host your public facing websites, servers and infrastructure on public cloud as they have the bandwidth and infrastructure to handle DDoS traffic volumes (but be careful of the associated costs, these can be high).
- While designing your infrastructure allowing it to scale up with increased load can be effective, but bear in mind that you’re going to be paying for the increased compute capacity just to service junk requests.
- Finally, ensure your own websites, servers and infrastructure are properly and regularly patched, configured and secured so that they cannot be used to participate in DDoS attacks against others.