Denial of Service (along with their lesser known cousins, Distributed Denial of Service) attacks can be a network administrators worse nightmare. Once they are underway they’re extremely difficult to resolve quickly, and could cost a business hours of productivity and frustration as people are unable to access your web services or remote access their work. What is a DDoS attack? And more importantly, what are the best methods to prevent a DDoS attack?
A Distributed Denial of Service attack is when malicious users target corporate servers with false or faulty service requests, flooding the servers with traffic until they shut down, or at the least become so busy sorting bogus internet traffic that actual data traffic is unable to get through. This can cripple or totally shut down web, email, and any other data transport services that your business needs to get its work done, resulting in many lost man hours as the problems are resolved. There are however several ways to prevent attacks, and a quality managed hosting company will use some or all of them on its dedicated servers.
The first and most important line of defense is a traffic analyzer. These software products consists of a suite of computer programs that constantly analyze the source and details of traffic, looking for the most common signs of false traffic requests and other markers that are frequently found as part of DDoS attacks. Once this sort of traffic is found, the best software is capable of filtering it out and preventing it from reaching the server in the first place. Then, in the next line of defense, a dedicated server company will have a firewall that further filters traffic. Firewalls work by preventing access to rarely used server ports and resources according to specified guidelines. By restricting these usually unprotected resources in the server’s software, firewalls block and prevent some of the most common access points and weak spots for Denial of Service attacks. And finally, many managed hosting companies will provide a backup cluster with a separate and distinct address and data connection, so that in the event of a DDoS attack, services can be switched over to the backup which remains unaffected.