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DDoS attacks are wreaking havoc on financial institutions and government organizations around the world. DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service, which is a form of virtual spam that overloads company servers, weakens defenses, and costs companies billions of dollars every year.
But if you ask companies about their DDoS prevention strategies, they don’t say very much. Why? Because they fear that even the smallest detail could allow a talented hacker to access the system and perform nefarious acts.
But thankfully, the good folks at PC World.com came up with a number of DDoS defense strategies that are being used by organizations around the world every day. If your company is experiencing DDoS attacks, or if you’re just interested to see how cyber security works in this day and age, keep reading.
7) Loose lips sink ships
This message was true in World War II and it’s true in 2013. If employees start blabbering about a company’s cyber defense strategy, then it’s only a matter of time before the wrong person overhears. If a bank employee reveals a critical piece about their company’s DDoS defense, for example, then some hackers could be willing to pay millions for that information.
So yeah, if you’re a bank employee willing to throw your company under the bus, start looking for a buyer online.
6) Prepare for real-time defense adjustments
Talented DDoS attackers watch how sites respond to attacks and then change their attacks based on those responses – just like a real battle. That’s why those concerned about DDoS defense will have to constantly monitor their defenses and adjust tactics in real-time. Attackers often change the port, protocol, or source of the attacks in order to throw defenders off guard.
5) Don’t rely on firewalls or load balancers
Firewalls and load balancers are called “perimeter defenses”. They’re primitive on-premise security devices that should be used as one part of an extensive security system – not as the only part. The PCWorld.com article explains that these devices regularly fail when they experience an attack, making the system completely vulnerable.
Instead, a better defense is to implement upstream defenses – especially when facing high-volume attacks. Upstream defenses include managed security service providers that interrupt DDoS attacks before they overload servers as well as network providers themselves.
4) Be wary of application-specific attacks
In another example of attacker sneakiness, more and more DDoS attackers are launching attacks on specific applications. These attacks tend to have a lower volume and be more targeted, which makes them difficult to spot. Attackers need on-premise protection to spot these attacks. And most importantly, the data center needs to be able to perform deep-packet inspection in order to monitor data at the application layer.
3) Strength in numbers
Banks are realizing how dangerous DDoS attacks can be, and that’s why they’re banding together for security. Banking industry collaborations include the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center as well as the sharing of attack data among private circles. DDoS attacks would become significantly less effective if all other vulnerable industries banded together in similar ways.
2) Draft emergency response playbooks
Financial institutions and companies generally know which parts of the company are going to be targeted by attacks. It’s recommended that companies draft playbooks and emergency response plans for each type of attack they may face. If possible, have a security expert come in to inspect the systems and offer consultancy services.
1) Watch out for secondary attacks and distractions
As you’ve already learned from this article, DDoS attacks are basically turning into a type of virtual warfare. And just like on the battlefield, the enemy will launch feints, distractions, and secondary attacks. Don’t let your defenses down and always be wary of these tricks – you never know if you’re dealing with a basement nerd with a powerful server network or a full-fledged group of professional hackers.
Whether the company is a bank or a major government institution, most major organizations need to be concerned about DDoS attacks. By paying attention to the above tips, you can reduce the risk of DDoS attacks and protect your company from attacks.