7 Simple but effective tactics to protect your website against DDoS attacks in 2021
Written by Tars Geerts, from Mlytics
Experts believe that the total number of DDoS attacks will double from the 7.9 million seen in 2018 to over 15 million by 2023. One of the reasons for this significant increase is that DDoS attacks are quite easy to pull off, making them very appealing to cyber criminals around the world.
Research states that small businesses can suffer damages of up to $120,000 per DDoS attack, while enterprise-level attacks can cost as much as $2 million.
So it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business or a huge multinational conglomerate, your online services, including email, websites, and anything that faces the internet, can be slowed down or completely blocked by a DDoS attack.
In this article, we list the most common types and offer resources to protect against DDoS attacks.
Distributed Denial-of-Service or DDoS attacks are malicious attempts to block businesses from its traffic. During a DDoS attack, the target server is flooded with bad traffic generated by exploited systems on the internet.
When your site falls victim to a DDoS attack, your website becomes unavailable for a while, or a very long time, depending on the intensity of the attack. Protecting your website against DDoS attacks means implementing a series of solutions to deal with the fake traffic sent by hackers to overwhelm your server resources.
Website owners shouldn’t need to wait until their site is under attack before they act. It is recommended to adopt a proactive approach towards DDoS attacks, and here are some non-technical, effective solutions to protect your website against this malicious traffic.
Here’s what you could do to protect your site or web apps against various types of DDoS attacks and help to keep your website online all the time.
1. Increase bandwidth
One of the most basic steps you can take to protect against DDoS attacks is to make your hosting infrastructure “DDoS resistant”. In essence this means that you prepare enough bandwidth to handle traffic spikes that may be caused by cyber attacks.
Please be reminded however that purchasing more bandwidth itself does not satisfy as a complete solution to mitigate DDoS attacks. When you increase bandwidth, it does raise the bar which attackers have to overcome before they can launch a successful DDoS attack, but you should always combine this with other mitigation tactics to completely safeguard your website.
2. Leverage a CDN Solution, or even better Multi CDN
CDN providers offer plenty of cybersecurity features and tools to protect your website from hackers. They also offer free SSL certificates. What’s more, when you add your website to these service providers, by default it provides DDoS protection to mitigate attacks on your server network and application.
The rationale behind this is that when you leverage a CDN network, all malicious requests targeting L3/L4 that aren’t accessing via port 80 and 443 will be filtered out automatically thanks to CDN’s port protocol.
Using a CDN can balance out website traffic so that your capped server would not be overwhelmed. Also, CDNs spread your traffic across servers in different locations, making it difficult for hackers to spot your original server to launch an attack.
In addition, with a Multi CDN solution you’ll be able to make use of a large network of PoPs from not one, but multiple CDN providers, allowing your website to sustain DDoS attacks via an even larger, multi-terabit-per-second globally distributed network.
3. Implement server-level DDoS protection
Some web hosts include server-level DDoS mitigation tools in their offering. As this feature is not always offered by web hosting companies, you should check with your web host. Some companies include it as a free service, while others offer it as a paid add-on. It all depends on the provider and hosting plan.
4. Fear the worst, plan for DDoS attacks ahead
Planning for a cyberattack in advance, enables you to respond quickly before they actually start harming your website.
A proper cyber security plan includes a list of co-workers who will deal with the attack. It also outlines the way the system will prioritize resources to keep most apps and services online, which could keep your business from crashing. Finally, you can also plan how to contact the Internet Service Provider that’s supporting the attack, since they may be able to help stop it entirely.
5. Remind yourself that you’re never ‘too small’ to be DDoS’ed
Many small business owners think that they’re scale isn’t large enough to fall victim to cyber attacks. However, as truth has it, cyber criminals target small businesses and startups more often than large enterprises. This is because bigger companies usually are more inclined to implement security solutions to deal with hacker’s attempts.
As mentioned earlier, small businesses can suffer damages of up to $120,000 per DDoS attack, so, your website is a possible victim to hackers and you should work on enhancing your website’s security.
6. Switch to a hybrid or cloud-based solution
When you switch to using hybrid or cloud-based services, chances are that you’ll have access to unlimited bandwidth. Many websites that are affected by DDoS are sites which run with limited resources. Moving to a cloud-based solution can help you be on the safe side.
7. Bullet-proof your network hardware configurations
You can prevent a DDoS attack by making a few simple hardware configuration changes.
For instance, you can configure your firewall or router to drop incoming ICMP packets or block DNS responses from outside your network (by blocking UDP port 53). This will help protect against certain DNS and ping-based volumetric attacks.
Given the fact that the amount of DDoS attacks has been increasing significantly, and that each attack can have devastating consequences for each business no matter its size or scale, it is important to think about DDoS mitigation tactics sooner than later.
The above tips and tactics will help you to increase your website’s security and protect against cyberattacks.