The old-fashioned attack IT just can’t seem to shake: DDoS

One of the oldest tricks in the book is still giving IT departments major headaches. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a big problem, and only getting bigger – in every sense of the word. 

The recent Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report by Arbor Networks has found that DDoS attacks are growing in size and complexity. Just last year, a single attack clocked in at over 300 Gbps, three times larger than previous attacks. No surprise then that these attacks are listed as a top concern for 2014.

What is a DDoS?

Put simply, DDoS attacks are an attempt to overload a network resource, making it unavailable for users. These are often conducted with botnets, computers used to unwittingly participate in the attacks.

(Interestingly, a recent attack actually used Internet-connected fridges in a similar type of attack.)

It’s an old form of attack, but still a popular one according to the report.

In 2013, the top threats were to:

  • customers – 64%
  • infrastructure outages from failure or misconfiguration – 55%
  • attacks toward infrastructure – 46%, and
  • attacks against services like email or DNS – 44%

Those infrastructure attacks seem to have taken their toll on IT. Attacks against infrastructure ranked as the top concern for survey respondents in 2014.

What can be done?

DDoS attacks can happen for any number of reasons, so it’s not always easy to tell if your business may become a target. Some steps to protect your organization:

  • Know your baseline. Part of recognizing an attack and responding quickly is having a good feel for how much traffic your company usually gets during regular and peak times.
  • Consider the cloud. Cloud services were at a much lower risk for DDoS attacks. Fewer than 1/5 of respondents to the survey saw a cloud attack.
  • Look into paid protection. There are paid services to monitor and block DDoS attacks (Arbor is one). These may be a good investment for organizations that may be a high risk of attack.

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