Credit Union Distributed Denial of Services – Mitigation Services – How do they Work?
If you work for a Credit Union or are concerned about a group of hackers targeting your company, you may be worried about Distributed Denial of Service Attacks. There is a growing concern about DDoS attacks against Credit Unions. Just in the last few weeks, there have been multiple attacks taking down Credit Union websites.
Denial of Service (DoS) attacks are nothing new, but given the explosive growth in worldwide network speeds and home computing (especially outside of the US) DDoS has changed the game. The technical classification of DoS and DDoS attacks is a “Brute Force Attack.” This means that the attacking system(s) do their best to flood or crash your systems through a very large amount of basic, typical tasks. Think about it like ten people shouting at you all at the same time.
If you heard all the buzz about DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks and began looking into mitigation solutions, that will act as a good primer for you. DDoS Attacks have been pointed at everything from “The Dog Whisperer’s” website, to Video Game networks, to Credit Unions, and even to the US Government.
The extra “D” exponentially increases the effectiveness & disruptiveness of attacks. The extra “D” (Distributed) refers to the spread out nature and quantity of attacking machines. Using networks of “slave machines” (Usually malware infected PCs) across the world, all of those individual clients are pointed at your website with the goal of slowing to a crawl or crashing your web servers via endless, pointless network traffic and requests of your servers. Imagine this as if each machine is a person shouting at you. The more people shouting, the harder and harder it is to understand what anyone is saying. Home football teams use this tactic all the time against the opposing offense in a game.
DDoS Mitigation Tools
In their most simple form, DDoS mitigation tools are remote network traffic filters. Some are activated by an IT professional on the client side when they see something unusual, some automatically detect undesired traffic, and some services are just always on and constantly filtering all traffic. Obviously there are cost implications related to each of these different scenarios, but at the end of the day, once an attack has been detected each scenario will do the same thing…prevent undesired traffic from hitting your network/servers.
There are two types of mitigation services.
- Appliance based
- Network based
Either way – the strategy is essentially the same – allow the volume to go into a black hole of some sort while filtering out the good traffic from the bad. Both types are pretty expensive (between $5k and $10k a month) from the top providers. Ultimately what you need to look for is how much capacity the black hole (DDoS mitigation tool) has.
Challenges for Credit Unions
- Capacity – The normal DDoS attack generates around 1 or 2 GB of traffic. Our experience is that the average Credit Union has about 20 to 100 mb of capacity. Obviously, having a solution that can consume and reroute 1 or 2 GB of traffic is the only thing that can really fix the problem quickly.
- Expertise – Being able to quickly re-route and separate the good from the bad traffic requires senior level network engineers and a good plan. It also probably requires testing and creativity. Most Credit Unions in our experience can’t afford to have the expertise sitting around just in case.
DDoS is a hot topic in the IT world right now, and we are going to continue discussing DDoS threats, solutions, best practices, and what CUs can do about it.
Would you like more information on ways Ongoing Operations can help your Credit Union mitigate a DDoS attack? Want to know more about how to mitigate a DoS attack? – click here for another article. For more information please fill out this quick form: