“As the festive season approaches, don’t be the next distributed denial of service (DDoS) victim,” says Bryan Hamman, territory manager for sub-Saharan Africa at Arbor Networks, the security division of NETSCOUT.
Recent headlines shouted “Crisis of the Week: Dyn’s Denial-of-Service moment” (The Wall Street Journal) and “The Dyn DDoS attack and the changing balance of online cyber power” (Forbes); the attack on 21 October 2016 on Dyn – a cloud-based Internet Performance Management (IPM) – is reported to have come from hackers using an estimated 100,000 devices, and left the Internet crippled.
“Dyn was hit with the largest DDoS attack ever recorded,” continues Hamman. “Not only did the attack take down Dyn’s servers, but it noticeably produced outages for many big-name companies, including Amazon, Twitter and Spotify.”
He adds that attacks have been growing in size and sophistication year upon year, with the retail industry continually being the most targeted. “But this particular attack is unlike anything that has come before it, and it wasn’t a one-off. When over 50 percent of retail organisations have experienced disruption from a DDoS attack, we need to prepare for attacks that are even larger than this, and then think bigger,” he warns.
Arbor’s white paper, “Out think your enemies: Defining defences for the DDoS and advanced threat landscape for retailers”, states that the consequences of not having robust cybersecurity defences in place can be enough to bring down an entire organisation, due to the loss of revenue sustained in an attack and the resulting damage to brand and reputation.
“Cybersecurity is a fundamental business requirement, so determining the level of a threat based on gut feeling is not enough,” points out the paper.
Yet, according to research in 2015 by the Ponemon Institute, that was how 38% of respondents from the retail industry identified a cyber attack as an advanced threat. Although 44% believed their company to be competent at identifying these types of threats, only 38% felt they were able to contain advanced threats and DDoS attacks.
Retail, notes the paper, is the industry most targeted by DDoS attacks, and with 50% of organisations experiencing disruption, threats are increasing in both scale and sophistication. This requires an equally sophisticated defence system to combat the problem.
The paper offers the following advice to outsmart the enemy:
* Be proactive. What’s certain is that any attack will have to make use of your network at some point, and will therefore be visible if you’re monitoring it the right way. The good news is that as soon they enter your environment they can be hunted, through an analysis of incoming data – and trapped in real time.
* Be protected. You can defend against the most sophisticated threats, and that includes volumetric and application layer attacks. By deploying your own layered defences, traffic can be constantly monitored and threats detected in as little as one second (and blocked inside four) – all without interrupting normal network services.
* Be prepared. No company will ever be 100% secure, 100% of the time. There are just too many access points for intruders to breach. But what you can do is focus on your reaction, the cyber attack response method that helps you prepare different defensive options and confirm the approval process.
“Arbor Networks is committed to ensuring you have deep visibility across your entire infrastructure,” highlights Hamman. “Faster detection means faster action, and with workflows that speed up the entire detection, validation, response and mitigation process, you can feel reassured that attacks are headed off at the earliest opportunity. We deliver world-class insights and protection to extend your existing network and security resources. We do this by providing solutions and capabilities that enhance service availability, as well as on-going advice on the very latest threat mutations.”