Learning how to protect yourself from DDoS attacks is more than essential, as a malicious attack can cause so many problems on your website that it can become so overloaded that it can even go offline.
So if you are suffering from slow loading times on your site, users are having trouble accessing your site at certain times.
And this situation persists, often lasting only a few minutes, or a few hours, and in the worst case even days. So know that your website may be suffering an attack.
Precisely for this reason, we decided to create this content where you will learn what DDoS is, what an attack is, how they work, what are the types of attacks, and most important of all, how to protect yourself from DDoS attacks.
What is DDoS?
Before you start learning how to protect yourself from attacks, it's important that you know what DDoS is. The acronym that in Portuguese means more or less Distributed Denial of Service comes from the English Distributed Denial of Service. Or service browsing attack. Termology that shows the coordinated nature of these types of malicious attacks.
DDoS is a derivation of DoS (Denial of Service), which is a type of attack that in turn involves only a single attacker. And that could be a single computer, or a single server controlled by just a single hacker.
So we can say that it is a set of DoS attacks, but with many attackers, between servers and computers, where hackers distribute and thus coordinate malicious attacks on a target on the internet. Thus overloading your entire system, taking it offline.
What is DDoS attack?
An attack of this type is nothing more than a malicious attack that has a single objective, which is to overload a computer or server to the maximum until exhausting all its resources, such as memory and processing resources. Until the target is completely unavailable to users trying to access it.
DDoS attacks are different from more traditional attacks, where hackers and malicious agents can infect computers in order to damage their files. Be aware that an attack requires planning by many attackers to be classified in this way.
In this case, a computer controlled by an individual with no good intentions then manages to control several other infected computers, which in turn redirect a large network of simultaneous attacks to a single target.
And as a result of this, the servers of the site that suffered the attack do not support the high demand for access requests, and so it went offline. Being completely unable to be accessed by any visitor.
An attack, most of the time, is motivated by hackers for some reason and common goal, where they do everything to make the target of the attack go offline on the internet. Which will harm you in many ways.
If the attacking hackers are successful in their attack, know that the damage can be quite large, let's assume that the malicious attack took place in an online sales store. So there will be a lot of lost sales. Therefore, knowing how to protect yourself from these attacks is very important.
How does a DDoS attack work?
We are almost there in the topic where you will learn how to protect yourself, we will only address two more subjects before that, which are: how an attack works and what types of attacks are.
So, as mentioned earlier, an attack serves exclusively to overload the entire system and thus prevent visitors from accessing any website or server on the Internet.
But this is a much more complex process than you might think, as a DDoS attack starts when a constant and coordinated flow of false requests (requests) is created to access a certain computer or server.
In this way, the target is full of false requests, which ends up causing the server to not be able to handle the demand and I go offline. Of course among all these requests and requests there are also requests that are really true.
That is, users who do not have malicious intent, but who really want to consume the content offered by a given page. But, they end up being affected by users who have ulterior motives.
Executing an attack will include an entire large network of zombie computers, or botnets as they are known. These computers, in turn, are all infected by thousands of digital pests you can imagine. And they serve to generate many more false requests for access to some target.
And the zombie computers are directly connected with 1 or several master computers, where they are controlled by the hacker. Thus making all of them together request access to a target simultaneously. Which will cause all the problems you already know.
Find out what types of DDoS attacks are:
For you to know better how to protect yourself from these malicious attacks, it is also very important that you know what are the different types of attacks that exist.
Both have the same goal, which is of course to overload systems and servers until they manage to take their target sites offline. But of course each attack has a characteristic in the way they are formed and also spread on the internet. These are the types:
Bulky Attacks or Flood:
This is the most common type, it is also known as Flood, which means flooding or flooding, these attacks send requests for access to a website on a large scale. Which ends up congesting the bandwidth, leaving it completely inaccessible on the web.
NTP Flood is another type where attackers are able to send valid but fake NTP (Network Time Protocol) packets to a target on the internet.
So as these requests appear to be true, then the NTP servers of the person being attacked in turn keep trying to respond to this large number of incoming requests. Resources of course run out, until the system goes offline.
This is also another type, the UDP Flood randomly floods ports of a target on the web with UDP (User Datagram Protocol) packets. In case you didn't know, it is a communication protocol, which in turn serves to send several packets full of information, and thus get answers quickly.
And when a server starts to receive a flood of information it needs to continue to check its integrity and respond back to the requester. So little by little he will get slower, until his total overload and indisposition.
The VoIP Flood is already a type of attack as a kind of variation of the UDP Flood, but unlike attacking random ports, the attacking hacker then sends a huge and huge volume of false requests. And these requests originate from many different IPs, which especially hit VoIP protocols.
The servers running the VoIP communication system then receive this huge volume of requests, which are actually a combination of true and false requests. That drain resources faster, thus compromising access.
Meanwhile, the server goes in search of a solution, which in this case is restarting it automatically, but as the requests keep coming, it slows down, until it runs out of bandwidth.
SYN Flood-type attacks can directly affect the entire 3-way TCP communication process, which includes a client, hosting and of course a server. This attack is also known as: Three-Way Handshake.
So in TCP communication, the user initiates a new communication session, in turn generating a SYN packet. The hosting function in this case is to verify the sessions, until they are terminated by the user's contact with the server.
SYN Food attack occurs when the hacker sends SYN packets to the victim such as a target server. But these SYN packets are sent from fake IPs, where they can even be masked during the process.
And during the repetition of this whole process, the server's memory will evidently collapse and the system will be completely inaccessible to the users.
The POD type, which is also known as Ping of Death, is a type of attack that affects IP protocols. The attacking hacker will then send as many data packets as possible that the IP types support.
Acting with ping requests with huge sizes of packets of IPs, and with a high frequency of high requests. It's actually thousands of times per second.
Normally a ping has 64 bytes, that is 65B of data, whereas the POD has a huge amount of gigantic IP packets, easily exceeding these limits. Which ends up leaving the target totally unable to process all the data in the packet, and ultimately system failure is inevitable.
How to protect yourself?
Surely you must have been scared and even quite worried when reading all the previous topics, and at this moment you must probably be wanting anyway to know how to stay protected from these attacks. After all it is your website and your online business.
Even though there is no fancy magic formula that can prevent all attacks suffered simultaneously, there are some essential precautions that you can and need to take to be able to prevent yourself from malicious attacks.
So stay tuned for our tips so you can put a real barrier in your online projects, and avoid going through problems and headaches. And that's why our tip is to always be prepared for both cases that may happen.
The first thing you need to do to protect yourself is to prepare your artillery with defense software and equipment solutions. An IT specialist can help a lot, as it is these specialists who can help you with decisions and taking action to circumvent the attack suffered, and manage to normalize the situation.
When you created your website, or blog, or any online project, you hired a hosting service, which is the website hosting company where your website is hosted. Then get in touch with them to find out how to act.
And take advantage of your contact to find out the capacity of your servers and also the contracted bandwidth so that you already have a good idea of what can be done. One of our tips for you to be more protected from threats on the internet is to point your domain to Cloudflare's servers.
This service is more than essential for protection against malicious attacks. Not to mention that Cloudflare is a great CDN (Content Distribution Network). That in addition to protecting will make your site much faster.
Indispensable service against any type of attack, as Cloudflare will act as a kind of filter, which will prevent undue requests using botnets on the servers where your website is hosted. Thus avoiding slowness and also overload.
Cloudflare's network of servers will then filter all requests to access a website's server before they even reach the website.
And it also works as if it were a kind of external cache system, which will release the pages and also the contents that were already loaded on another occasion.
In fact, it doesn't even make a query on the destination server, which is great, as this will result in good bandwidth savings and also much faster access to the desired information.
Use a firewall to manage your connections:
Another way to protect yourself is to use a firewall to manage connections, in addition to the firewall acting as a good protection barrier against malicious attacks. Know that a good Firewall also controls and manages all connection requests to a website.
So our recommendation here is for you to use and abuse this tool that will certainly prevent accesses of dubious and very bulky origins.
Invest in bandwidth:
This is a very valuable tip, and also one of the most important of all for you to be protected against any type of attack, and you need to put it into practice. Because this strategy can be the difference between your website being online or not.
In case you didn't know, bandwidth is the maximum information and data transfer capacity that a hosting service offers. So when many users access a particular site at the same time, that band in turn is all consumed by them.
Therefore, if the bandwidth is very low, it is very likely that due to the volume of access requests, the server will then suffer from overloads or simply become unavailable. Because that way there will be much less packets of data available.
And that's why having a lot of bandwidth is essential, more bandwidth for a server means it will be able to handle the demand for access requests. And all this without running the risk of reaching a limit on the amount of traffic, and ending up being harmed by it.
A very robust bandwidth can and will help mitigate a DDoS attack, as the greater the bandwidth, the greater the volume of access requests it will support. But if the memory or processor is attacked, unfortunately, you won't have many options to save yourself.
As you already know, using contact and registration forms, and also newsletters are great ways to capture leads (customer email) in your online business. People who usually subscribe to these lists want to receive promotions, news, among others.
But the website that provides this functionality also becomes a target for hackers, and they are vulnerable to attack. Thus, an attacking hacker will install a bot on the contact and registration page, and in this way he can create a chain of repetitive requests.
This hacker-installed bot can also brute-force restricted access, using random passwords and usernames until it gains access. Which will end up generating a lot of slowness in the navigation of the site, and a lot of instability on the server as well.
So one way for you to protect yourself is by integrating your website with a reCAPTCHA system, and it will check who is actually accessing the contact form, if it is a real individual, and not a robot that was properly programmed to simulate hits.
reCAPTCHA is a well-known resource where it uses a system that forces any visiting user to click on images that are shown by the tool. And even so, it is necessary to authenticate the images shown and also click on a button to verify that the visitor is not a bot.
Multiple access servers:
Another very efficient way to protect yourself is to divide your website applications on different access servers. In fact, ideally, each part of your site, such as e-mails, content, and even the database are stored and also pointed to different servers.
And you should simply do this because if one of your services stops due to an attack, the other services on the site will not be affected at all, and will continue to function normally.
Just for you to understand better, let's assume that your email service is suffering an attack, but your other services such as your hosting and your database are allocated on other servers. Then they won't be harmed by the malicious attack.
The options of being able to configure different servers for each of the applications are very common in VPS or Shared hosting, and guarantee more protection options.
As you can see, DDoS attacks on the Internet are much more common than you might think. Hundreds of thousands of attacks of the types mentioned in our list are carried out every day.
Which ultimately ends up harming many businesses on the web, as it compromises its entire operation. And if you have an online business, our recommendation is that now that you know how to protect yourself from DDoS attacks, that you take precaution not to suffer attacks and experience undesirable setbacks.
So don't forget to protect yourself with software to prevent the infection of digital pests on your pc, IT professionals to prepare your artillery, and also good hosting companies. That way you will be much safer.
And that's it, we're done here, we hope we helped with this content. And never forget to “protect your online business”. Big hug and success