The internet has become the backbone of a modern enterprise, regardless of the industry, location, or market they belong to. Organizations must be prepared to confront attacks on pace with the internet’s lightning speed, particularly Distributed Denial-Of-Service (DDoS) attacks, among the most significant threats they face.
Failing to endure a DDoS attack and bounce back efficiently can result in a host of adverse outcomes, including loss of revenue, non-compliance, and reputational harm, among other things. As such, businesses must have a contingency plan for DDoS attacks. Like any business continuity plan, this strategy will evolve and must be repeatedly tested and refined over the years, if not decades.
The preparatory phase is the foundation for effective DDoS defense. It’s where you gather the tools, personnel, procedures, best practices, and communication strategies to tackle a DDoS attack head-on. It involves rigorous training, practice, and rehearsal of your plan to ensure that your organization can execute it successfully. The plan should encompass all aspects, processes, and procedures your organization requires to continue fulfilling its mission despite these attacks.
With adequate visibility into internet traffic, organizations may be aware of DDoS attacks once they experience significant downtime lasting for days or weeks. Therefore, having the right tools to identify attacks and send timely alerts about abnormal and potentially hazardous events is crucial. Reliable attack detection forms the basis for the subsequent steps in the DDoS defense cycle.
Upon detecting an attack, the next step is to determine the type of attack and the specific target(s) involved. Accurately classifying the attack is crucial, as an incomplete or erroneous assessment could result in inappropriate and ineffective responses, potentially exacerbating the situation.
Once the attack has been classified, the focus shifts to tracing its origins and determining the entry and exit points of the malicious traffic within your network. Automation should be leveraged for the detection, classification, and outlining steps to ensure that determinations are made swiftly and accurately, rather than relying on manual methods that are slower and more prone to errors.
Once you have identified and classified the DDoS attack, the focus shifts to mitigating the attack and ensuring the continuous availability of critical services. Selecting the appropriate mitigation approach is vital, and this decision should be based on the specific characteristics and scale of the attack.
After the attack, conducting an in-depth analysis is vital. This postmortem analysis involves reviewing all actions taken during the attack, identifying areas for improvement, and using the lessons learned to enhance the overall DDoS defense plan. It will help to prepare your organization for future attacks better.
Forming the Incident Response Team
Determine whether a dedicated or contextual team is best suited for managing DDoS incidents. This team should include key stakeholders, infrastructure and service administrators, management, legal, communications/PR, and potentially external partners, suppliers, and customers.
Crafting the Incident Plan
A lack of planning will inevitably fail. Effective DDoS incident response hinges on the level of readiness and preparedness of your plan. Your response plan is the backbone for all six phases of DDoS handling. No plan is 100% perfect. It must be dynamic, adaptable, customized to your organization’s unique environment, and refined through regular practice and real-world scenarios.
Regular rehearsals are crucial To ensure your plan is comprehensive and effective. These rehearsals should include internal-only drills and full-scale simulations involving all stakeholders, including external parties, to validate the plan’s readiness and identify any areas of improvement.
Achieving Cyber Resilience with UDT
Successful mitigation requires deliberate effort, not chance. This effort comes in the form of a comprehensive, well-tested plan executed as rehearsed. It is crucial to work through each of the six steps, maintain internal and external communication throughout the incident, and conduct a thorough postmortem evaluation.
A continuous and automated approach is necessary to achieve such incremental improvements in cyber resilience without wasting time or resources. Leveraging systems to enhance the team’s capabilities can significantly extend cyber resilience.