DDoS attacks: The arms race against your network

RADIO RECAP Allstream’s senior product manager for managed security services tells companies how to protect themselves from DDoS attacks on 570News


In network security, it’s the closest thing to getting nuked: the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

Craig Deveau, senior product manager for managed security services at Allstream, fielded questions about how to cope with the threat on 570News on the radio station’s Business to Business talk show, hosted by Greg Durocher and Ian MacLean.

DDoS attacks appear regularly in the news, such as the recent security incident involving the Raspberry Pi Foundation and an attack on code-sharing site GitHub. Attacks against government departments or large companies make headlines, with insinuations of state sponsorship spreading fear about an upcoming cyber war. Others are never reported, yet can be just as devastating to the victims.

Deveau said that while high-profile attacks or threats from the likes of the Anonymous hacker collective attract the most attention, they’re a problem that any company connected to the Internet has to grapple with. “DDoS represents one of the more recent and very effective attack vectors that are used against companies of all sizes,” he said.

As unified communications and collaboration become more and more ubiquitous in businesses, from startups to the largest corporations, their vulnerability to DDoS attacks increases, Deveau said. And companies should not become complacent.

“The threats have changed and they evolve over time, and they should really revisit—at least on an annual basis—their security policies and procedures, and also their incident response time.”

He also stressed the necessity of looking beyond firewalls and intrusion prevention systems, since it’s the perimeter defence itself that can become the DDoS attack’s first target.

“Those are essential tools that are required as part of your security infrastructure, but they’re not really designed to block DDoS attacks. Actually, DDoS attacks, in many cases, exploit inherent weaknesses in those types of platforms,” said Deveau.

Most importantly, he said, remember that you’re facing a formidable enemy, one that you’re not going to defend yourself from without allies. “You have to think of it almost like an arms race, and the adversaries that are targeting you, they have virtually unlimited access to resources to attack you.”

The best strategy is for companies to seek help from vendors that can provide the specific technology to block DDoS attacks upstream, before their network gets hit in the first place, Deveau said.

Click here to listen to the recorded podcast of the show.

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