What Is Anti-DDoS?
One of the biggest hazards any company or organization faces today is the loss of its Internet connectivity. In an enormous number of industries and market segments, online sales and operations have become more important than brick-and-mortar stores and in-person contact.
And the biggest hazard of all is a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, a malicious attempt to completely take down an online server, network or data center to prevent legitimate traffic from connecting.
Monetary losses as the result of a DDoS are often enormous, and the associated damage that can occur when a company’s web properties are unreachable for hours or days can be nearly as costly. That’s why any firm or organization with an Internet presence must have anti DDoS measures in place.
What Is Anti-DDoS?
Simply put, anti DDoS is the aggregation of hardware, software and IT policies implemented by a data center or Internet Service Provider to prevent and mitigate Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Prevention and mitigation are two separate activities which are conducted separately, and both must be undertaken to effectively fight off these ever-more-common and ever-larger assaults on Internet servers and facilities.
The most basic anti DDoS measures are preventative and can be handled by experienced IT staff. Mitigation, however, requires a combination of hardware and software systems which move unexpected surges of malicious traffic away from servers and network infrastructure in order to be inspected, “scrubbed” and then allowed Internet access only when determined to be legitimate requests for access.
To fully understand these two prongs of an anti DDoS strategy, it’s important to picture how an attack works.
The A-B-C’s of a DDoS
In its simplest form, a DDoS attack is launched from many different computers, often located in different parts of the world. All of those computers simultaneously request connections to, or information from, the website or server that is the target of the attack; the object is to flood the machine or network with so many requests at one time that it’s initially unable to respond to legitimate traffic, and eventually is so overwhelmed that it shuts down completely.
There are three general forms of DDoS blasts. One is simply a brute force attack designed to use up all available bandwidth, a second is aimed at using up all of the server’s resources, and a third tries to overwhelm specific applications or software on the target machine. However, they all call for the same basic approaches to anti DDoS prevention and mitigation.
Anti DDoS prevention involves taking steps like hardening firewalls and other traditional protection systems through proper configuration and deployment, as well as measures like the use of intelligent web application firewalls which can test application requests before accepting them, practicing proper load balancing, having sufficient bandwidth available and closing off unused but frequently attacked ports. There is also DDoS monitoring software which can be helpful in filtering out malicious traffic, but it’s largely ineffective in the face of a large scale attack.
When a DDoS begins and mitigation is required, there are two alternatives. The first is installing an anti DDoS hardware solution, which is extremely expensive, doesn’t move the potentially-dangerous traffic out of the data center and away from its infrastructure, and only works against certain types of attacks. A few companies are now marketing combined software/hardware anti-DDoS systems, but they are meant to be used in-house and in close proximity to other at-risk hardware.
The second and more effective anti DDoS practice is to outsource the mitigation work to an off-site company that specializes in scrubbing malicious traffic. Once a DDoS attack is underway, all traffic is instantly routed away far away from the data center and into the cloud, where anti-DDoS programs carefully inspects the source and nature of all traffic – and only then routes legitimate visitors back to their destination. All malicious traffic is prevented from connecting, so no damage is done and no servers are taken down. And the process is lightning-fast, so there’s no service disruption for customers.
An anti DDoS plan is essential for all businesses, and half-measures aren’t enough. Both prevention and mitigation must be included and must be effective, to ensure continuous data center uptime and customer access.
Sharktech is a private company founded in 2003 by CEO and DDoS Protection Pioneer Tim Timrawi. The company has more than 25 employees throughout its headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, and data center facilities in Los Angeles, CA, Denver, CO, Chicago, IL, and Amsterdam, Netherlands.