Reduce Vulnerabilities and Defend Your Brand Against DDoS Attacks

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are on the rise and the repercussions can be detrimental to businesses.

Gartner has estimated the cost of downtime from DDoS attacks to be $300,000 per hour and a successful application attack costs, on average, $4.42 million per incident. Yet, beyond the financial impact – a customer’s trust in a brand is truly what’s at stake with these cyber attacks. In fact, 31% of consumers have discontinued their relationship with a company due to a security breach and a significant number of consumers have lost their trust in a brand as a result.

DDoS attacks only seem to be growing. As recently as September 2022, the Japanese government was targeted by an organised cyber-criminal group called Killnet. Killnet planned a sustained DDoS attack that eventually overcame the government’s cyber defenses. Yet, the Japanese government was protected by one of the most recognised names in web security.

Then, earlier this month, on U.S. soil, Killnet perpetrated a DDoS attack targeting major airports, including Los Angeles International, Chicago O’Hare, and Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, among others. The modus operandi of the Killnet attacks is to employ a variety of DDoS techniques, including combining application attacks with volumetric network attacks. It deploys these in waves of attack that also target a company’s origin.

As online attacks increase in size, frequency and sophistication, businesses need to seek holistic security solutions to help detect and streamline resolution.

Attacks on the rise

DDoS attacks are here to stay. In fact, according to the 2022 Verizon DBIR (Data Breach Investigations Report), the number one security threat is a DDoS attack (46% of attacks) – and it’s growing every year. The number one targets are web applications and servers (56% of attacks), with DBIR highlighting web apps that remain unpatched and legacy apps that are older than four years as being the most affected.

Where do vulnerabilities lie?

Companies remain vulnerable because they don’t protect all of their network against DDoS attacks. As attacks target both the network and application layers, organisations must protect against several attack vectors. According to the Verizon DBIR, the second leading breach pattern is a basic web application attack, so businesses will also benefit from a WAF solution. Once you deploy a WAF, your defenses improve significantly. Edgio’s App Security Benchmark Report notes that businesses can detect and contain a breach 77 days faster, on average.

As network architectures have evolved, so have DDoS attacks, exposing websites and networks to vulnerabilities, including the critical applications and processes dependent on those networks. One vital part of an IT network that needs protection – and gets overlooked – is your origin. The origin server is where the original web page is stored. One job of a content delivery network (CDN) is to store, or cache, copies of the web pages on its edge servers that are located a short distance from the web app user. Global edge servers enable businesses to deliver lightning-fast performance to website and app users. The CDN hides the origin IP address, but devious cyber criminals, like Killnet, find and attack this chink in the armour. Deploying robust application security and DDoS scrubbing solutions are recommended to protect and mitigate against direct-to-origin DDoS attacks. DDoS scrubbing identifies bad traffic and redirects it away from critical systems. This combination of defenses provides businesses with a full spectrum, holistic cyber security strategy and means attacks never reach their infrastructure, applications, and internet-facing websites.

How to defend against DDoS attacks

Even though the threat landscape continues to evolve, there are still several steps you can do to protect your business and brand from DDoS attacks. Organisations should adopt a scalable, holistic security platform and protect their network, applications and origin using an edge-based DDoS protection solution. Direct-to-origin attacks can be defended against using a DDoS scrubbing solution and a security operations centre can improve business security responsiveness.

It’s impossible to eliminate the risk of attacks, but there are practical steps business leaders can implement to protect and secure their organisation, before it’s too late.

About the Author

Paul Mc Namara is Senior Solutions Engineer for Edgio, working on edge platform, CDN & security products, with MSc. in mobile computing.

He has 5+ years experience in a technical sales environment, winning flagship deals involving stellar global brands, with very hands-on collaborative customer implementations on all aspects of CDN, security and edge solutions. He has 10+ years experience in specialised technical support, holding an expert knowledge of HTTP and TCP protocols, web & security infrastructure, with a strong emphasis in the past on CDN, edge & security solutions. He is proud to be sales engineer of the year winner 3 years running.

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