The threat of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have been looming large over big business for the past couple years as hacktivists and other cybercriminals have been trying to shut down the networks and Internet presence of prestigious organizations. In 2013, small and midsize companies have to worry about this phenomena as well. Linda Musthaler wrote a piece on Network World saying that this form of attack has been a big problem for U.S. banks. Banks under attack have included PNC Bank, Fifth Third, Citibank and more. These institutions especially cannot afford to have any kind of extended or even minimal downtime. Internet security and other measures must be set up to help lessen the effects of these attacks.
“It’s disturbing that this second round of attacks has had even a modicum of success in disrupting banking services,” she said. “After all, the banks were forewarned that the DDoS attacks would be coming, and thus they had ample time to put preventive measures in place. There are anti-DDoS technologies that can mitigate these types of attacks and lessen the effects on the victim businesses.”
The warning for many banks should have come when they saw contemporary financial institutions losing big chunks of money and time from DDoS attacks. Musthaler said every company that has any type of online service needs to start accounting for these attacks and taking notice of what they can do to a business. It’s more than just a little bit of money at stake, as a network or internet presence being shut down can mean customers or users of a particular service become disenfranchised or upset with it. With this in mind, she said there are ways that companies can look to protect their company from these DDoS attacks.
Standard security services prove vulnerable
Musthaler said on Network World that companies must not simply rely on tools like firewalls to stop these attacks, as they are likely not sufficient when it comes to slowing these hackers.
“Even a next-generation firewall that claims to have DDoS protection built-in cannot deal with all types of attacks,” she wrote. “The best protection against DDoS attacks is a purpose-built device or service that scrutinizes inbound traffic before it can hit your firewall or other components of the IT infrastructure. This type of solution has one mission: to prevent excessive or malicious traffic from making your Web-based applications inaccessible to legitimate customers or users.”
Other methods Musthaler suggests for slowing down DDoS attacks include:
– Know the baseline activity on a network and what the signs of an incoming attack are
– Look at who typical site visitors are and figure out when unexpected transactions start to happen
– Have a plan to come back quickly after a DDoS does get through and shut down a business’ online presence temporarily
– Figure out what the financial impact of DDoS is on the organization and look to invest an appropriate amount to stop it
Knowing vulnerability may be first step
Matthew Schwartz wrote on InformationWeek that the first step toward stopping or slowing DDoS attacks as company may be to simply know that the company is at risk.
“One lesson from the use of DDoS by Anonymous – as well as its sister hacktivist group LulzSec – is that any site is at risk,” he wrote. “That’s not meant to sound alarmist, but rather simply to acknowledge that the hacktivist agenda can seem random, at best.”
Sound data security means recognizing that the company is at risk and planning ahead to stop any incoming attack, Schwartz said. If attacked, most businesses won’t take the appropriate actions to get back on track, but a prepared company will know just what to do when it comes to slowing the effects of DDoS.
Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro