Denial of service is a common type of an Internet attack. All of a sudden the site gets an unusually high amount of traffic, as a result the hardware and software are overwhelmed to handle it. Consequently, the site goes down. If you sell products and/or services via the internet, this is a total disaster since you will lose much in sales.
Although, DDoS attacks are mostly aimed at government sites and sites of big corporations, sometimes hackers target small and innocent websites, just like yours. Why are they doing it? Some of them do it just for fun, while others just want to see if they can do it. Anyway, if your site is a target of DDoS hackers, you are in a jeopardy.
Here’s the list of tips and steps you need to take to prevent and fight DDoS attacks.
Keep everyone informed
Don’t lose precious time. After you started noticing an unusual amount of traffic your website is getting, call your network system administrator, ISP and a hosting provider. These guys definitely know what to do. Moreover, they might be already aware of the problem. In such a case you should not worry, since competent expert will take care of DDoS attack. This especially concerns hosting providers that usually employ experts in web security matters. All reputable web hosts protect sites of their customers. So, having a reliable web hosting provider is the number one concern if you want to make your site secure.
Tell bad traffic from good
Of course, you know the nature of your usual traffic. If all of a sudden you see thousands of requests from several IPs, this is a bad sign. What you should do is to investigate it. Any unusual traffic should seem suspicious. This is not a referral traffic but direct. So, can you imagine that 20k people simultaneously try to access your site? Can you believe it? Of course, not. So, do not be happy for having huge traffic and start acting.
Find out where the bad traffic comes in
Sure, your entire network may be a target, but usually, hackers choose one particular element. This can be a load balancer, a firewall or any other network component. Finding the bottleneck does not resolve the entire problem, of course, but it will help better understand nature of the attack and strengthen problematic areas.
Ban IP address from which the bad traffic is coming
Well, let’s be honest. If your site is under a heavy DDoS attack you will probably be helpless unless you ask for help of companies that specialize in DDoS prevention and handling. However, amateur attacks can be easily handled. One day of a major attack is not cheap. So amateurs use just a few IP addresses which you can find out and ban. Odds are that young hackers will never come back. Filtering traffic is also a good idea, although even the most sophisticated apps may make mistakes. Anyway, often it is better to make such a mistake than to let your site go down.
Aleksey has been in IT for years. Now, he specialized in the Internet security, data protection and prevention/handling of DDoS. Aleksey is consulting various services like http://www.vistnet.com/ to help them protect their customers’ sites.