By Mohammed Al-Moneer
Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are growing in both size and sophistication. Recently in September, a pair of high-profile DDoS attacks reached more than 600 Gbps and 1 Tbps, respectively, ranking among the largest DDoS attacks on record. And their ferocity is only expected to trend upward.
No one is immune
DDoS attacks don’t discriminate. Mom-and-pop shops, enterprises, service providers and businesses of all types and sizes can find themselves in a threat actor’s DDoS crosshairs.
According to an A10 Networks IDG Connect report, everyone is a target, but some types of businesses come under fire more frequently. Entertainment and gambling are targeted the most, with 33 percent of DDoS attacks aimed at that industry, followed by advertising media and Web content (28 percent), and traditional and online retail (22 percent).
The DDoS effect
And while the financial impact of a DDoS attacks varies, the hard truth is: DDoS attacks are costing companies money. Lots of it.
A recent Ponemon Institute study revealed that between 2011 and 2016, the costs associated with a DDoS attack swelled by 31 percent, with some larger attacks exceeding $2 million due to lost revenue, business disruption and other hard costs. Brand and reputation damage, however, are largely immeasurable, but can also have a catastrophic lasting effect not easily broken down into dollars and cents.
At the same time, the number of DDoS attacks increased 75 percent year over year, according to the Verisign DDoS Trends Report for the second quarter of 2016.
The IDG Connect report found the average company suffers 15 DDoS attacks per year (some averaging as many as 25 DDoS attacks annually), and the average attack causes at least 17 hours of disruption, whether that’s downtime, latency, denied customer access or crashes. That’s 255 hours of disruption a year.
Can your business afford that?
To be properly prepared, businesses must brace for the worst-case scenario. But how do you prevent something that you don’t know when or if it’s coming? Here are four steps to help ensure your network can stare down and stand up to a DDoS attack:
• Be proactive, not reactive. Don’t wait for a major crash. You may already be experiencing attacks with slowed or blocked customer access, which can result in lost sales or dissatisfied customers.
• Beware of the “world of denial.” Ask tough questions. What do your customer satisfaction metrics reveal? Do you see indicators of lost sales? What’s the real cost of service restoration?
• Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Invest in sufficient DDoS protection and mitigation solutions early, before a major attack strikes.
• Defend against all vectors. Consider dedicated multi-vector DDoS protection using in-path mitigation, coupled with integrated threat intelligence, for the best accuracy. Include hybrid protection with a cloud-bursting service as an extra precaution to combat volumetric attacks.
About the author
Mohammed Al-Moneer is the regional director, MENA at A10 Networks.