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Posted by Dan Akister on 25-Apr-2022 10:58:13

DDoS and cloud hosting resilience

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DDoS attacks are frequent and vary in severity. They’re the tool of low skill “hackers” to temporarily disrupt websites and services from a distance without any penetrative technology. Sometimes they do this to get inside a company’s systems, but for the most part, they’re an annoyance.

Cloud is a strong defence
Often, free cloud hosting solutions have been susceptible to DDoS attacks because they only have one point of operation. Paid solutions often have other servers working in tandem on completely separate sites for resilience, which means that if attacked, operation can shift from one platform to the other. This particular method of load balancing means that if there’s a breach through the firewall, then there’s a failsafe in place to continue business operation. The problem with the free solutions is that in the event that the hackers do break through the firewall or they’re not detected, your one and only cloud platform is compromised with no means of instant failover. So being dependent on one cloud server or platform, isn’t optimal.

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How you could be targeted
There’s a number of different types of DDoS attacks and each is of a considerable concern for businesses going forward

  • Volumetric attacks are where there are floods of false data requests that attack each open port a server has available. This causes the server to overload with requests. It doesn’t recognise legitimate traffic and as such can fail. UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) floods are the most common forms of these volumetric attacks. UDP is used for fast data transmission where ICMP is slower, but harder to deal with at the received end.

  • Application layer attacks are where the malicious agent targets direct web traffic through HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP or DNS. These are harder to detect as they typically originate from one machine rather than a networked farm or machines/IPs and this can be seen as legitimate traffic. This type of attack in particular can be combated well by cloud hosting, as it is easy to shift away from an overloaded server configuration and spread this across several solutions. So while it may not be identified easily, it can be coped with more easily when using a cloud configuration.

  • Protocol attacks are where the base of the operation is attacked - the networking solution or connection. This can cause widespread confusion as multiple sites on different IPs can be affected at the same time because a provider has been taken down. An example of this happening is when Fastly (a content delivery network) went down, causing almost the entire internet to go down too. These sites weren’t related or hosted in the same place and yet because Fastly went down, so did they. While it wasn’t a DDoS attack, the place where their data was stored went down and took them out too.

Does the cloud protect me?
Cloud hosting is one of the most resilient forms of hosting available. The servers are physical, but they’re usually set up in such a way that the loads are balanced across different solutions, meaning that if one server is attacked by a malicious agent, the infrastructure can be moved to another location, on a different IP. The first line of defence against these is usually a strong firewall that will identify whether this is legitimate traffic or not, but should that be fooled – cloud hosting is a fantastic method of avoiding the scenario of any downtime for your business.

To speak to us about cloud hosting, get in touch on 0161 498 1200.

Topics: cloud hosting, cloud, cloud server hosting, hosting, it industry, web hosting

Dan Akister

Written by Dan Akister

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