What Is DDoS? How To Protect Your Business From A Quietly Growing Threat

What Is DDoS? How To Protect Your Business From A Quietly Growing Threat

Author:
David Salsbury
Product Portfolio Manager - Security

According to Cisco, the annual number of DDoS attacks is expected to reach 15.4 million in 2023 (up from 7.9m in 2018 and 10.8m in 2020).

That steep growth signals heightened danger to businesses. ecommerce retailers, SaaS providers, financial institutions and many other operations are at risk of DDoS attack — a takeover which, at best, can interrupt operations and damage to a business’s reputation and, at worst, can be a precursor to something much more malicious indeed.

So how can we stop DDoS hackers before they succeed?

In this post, we'll explain how DDoS attacks work and what you can do to protect your business against them.

What is a DDoS attack?

A DDoS attack, or Distributed Denial of Service, is when a hacker disrupts a website or internet connection’s normal mode of operations by flooding its network servers with requests. This causes the server or firewall to become overwhelmed and, eventually, shut down, preventing user access.

DDoS attacks can happen to any organisation. In theory, service the size of Netflix could be disabled by overwhelming its servers in a DDoS attack.

In fact, something of this magnitude has happened in the past, when hacktivist group 'Anonymous’ took down Sony's PlayStation network, blocking PlayStation users from being able to play online multiplayer games. Although it's difficult to take down large networks like these, Anonymous has proven that no one is completely safe.

What happens during a DDoS attack?

The first step in a DDoS operation is to gather a network of bots (simple computer programs that perform one or two functions). These bots are installed on existing devices, most often IoT devices that the attacker has hacked into.

Once a sufficient number of bots have been gathered (the amount needed will depend on the strength of the website/network), all of the bots begin simultaneously requesting access to a website, service, or network. That network's bandwidth is then overloaded, causing it to crash and preventing users from accessing the network, website, or service.

From there, the hacker(s) will make demands upon the business — usually financial — in exchange for letting up on the DDoS attack. Other times, the attack is simply carried out by teens or internet communities as a joke amongst themselves.

The dangers of DDoS are growing

Although this may seem like a minor threat in the world of hacking (no one's data is lost or stolen, and nothing is permanently affected) the risks of DDoS have started to become more and more serious over the last few years.

Namely, DDoS is now being used as a way to distract from greater simultaneous risks. A group of hackers will overwhelm a business's servers, causing them to scramble to fix the problem. Meanwhile, the hackers will start targeting sensitive information, firewalls, and even user accounts. By the time the company realises what's happening, the DDoS is over and the hackers have taken what they want.

One of the major difficulties in preventing a DDoS attack is that the bots are effectively invisible to most security systems. They look like any other user on the network, making it difficult to identify and remove attackers without affecting genuine users.

A DDoS attack can happen to any business with a website, which puts nearly every business at some level of risk.

How businesses can protect against DDoS

We've created the JT DDoS Mitigation Service to help businesses identify DDoS bots and prevent attacks altogether. This service is fine-tuned to detect DDoS bots with extremely low false-positive and false-negative ratios. In other words: JT DDoS Mitigation makes it possible to block DDoS attacks at all times before the attack even reaches your internet connection. . To date, the largest DDoS attack reached 1.3 TBps of traffic, but JT DDoS Mitigation is capable of absorbing 4.5 TBps. That's enough of a cushion for the service to absorb multiple DDoS attacks at the same time.

JT's DDoS service is always-on and highly scalable, making it an ideal solution for companies of all sizes. Find out more about JT DDoS and start protecting your business.

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