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How to Stop DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks can turn out to be lethal and if they are not handled deftly; they can put you out of business. The effects of any successful DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks may be far-reaching and your business could well disappear overnight as your servers become unresponsive and fail to interact with clients. This is why it is necessary for every company to make concerted efforts to stop DDoS attacks. The incidence of such attacks is very high and the big names in the business like Google and Amazon have also been victims.

What does a DDoS Attack do?

In a DDoS attack, an dedicated IP address is usually targeted, preferably one which gets a lot of traffic. When this IP address points to a server it will get overwhelmed with user queries and requests. The legitimate traffic which is headed for this server cannot connect to it and soon the website becomes unresponsive and goes offline. The DDoS attack is a specialized Denial of Service or DDoS attack where malicious traffic gets generated from many sources and these are all controlled from a central point. Since in this attack the traffic sources are spread across many sources, it is harder to block it.

Tips to stop DDoS attacks:

- One of the most effective ways to stop a DDoS attack is to indentify when such an attack happens. When you can realize faster there has been an attack, you can stop it faster. So, you should ideally get to know the profile of your inbound traffic. This helps you to detect sharp and unusual traffic spikes. You can also delegate this task to a professional who will be responsible for detecting the attack.

- It is perhaps better to request for more bandwidth than what you may actually need. This is a great trick to handle traffic is it suddenly spikes. Such spikes may even be because of an advertising campaign or some special product launches etc. While extra bandwidth cannot stall the attack, it can definitely buy you more time to decide how to deal with an attack and to ensure that all resources are not exhausted right away.

- To mitigate DDoS attacks partially, you can take some easy measures for the first few minutes. You may add filters which inform your router to drop the packets which have been generated from possible attack sources. You may drop malformed packets and set lower ICMP and SYN thresholds, and even limit the router so that the server does not get overwhelmed. These measures may have been quite useful earlier but now these are not enough to stop an attack.

- You can always call your ISP provider and inform them of the attack. So, you must have their emergency contact numbers with you and the host should be willing to come to your rescue. When the server is housed in a data center rather than being run by you, it is possible to deal with such an attack better. This is possible as the data center usually has much better bandwidth links and high-end routers and their staff is also typically more experienced in handling such attacks. Usually when the attack is severe, the host will "null route" traffic and packets get dropped before they can enter the server.

- Finally, it is recommended that you reach out to a DDoS mitigation specialist. Such companies have access to many technologies and infrastructure which can ensure that your site stays online despite an attack. Such services are not free of cost and you have to decide whether to wait for such an attack to subside on its own or seek help.

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