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DDoS Protection and Mitigation with DNS

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Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.

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There are many cyber threats that target online businesses and individuals, such as identity theft, phishing, ransomware, and spoofing, to name a few. But one of the greatest threats to organizations is DDoS attacks. These types of attacks are skyrocketing—up 278% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to previous years and up 31% more in just the first quarter of 2021. While directed at companies, the damage is felt by everyone who uses the sites affected. DDoS mitigation and prevention are crucial in today’s digital climate.

DDoS Definition

DDoS stands for distributed denial-of-service. This type of cyber attack generates huge spikes in web traffic using a botnet, which is designed to overwhelm a server or network. DDoS attacks are popular because they can quickly and effectively leave websites and systems without redundancy measures in place completely inoperable. 

Tip: Want to learn more about this type of attack? See our “What is a DDoS attack” resource.

Why Businesses Need DDoS Protection and Mitigation

Considering the ever-growing reliance the world has on the internet for work, school, and play, including DDoS protection in your DNS strategy is a must. A single minute of downtime can cost businesses as much as $5,600.  

Factor in the average length of a DDoS attack, which is up to four hours, and costs could be as high as $1.3 million—and that figure doesn’t even include the cost of staff hours and loss of employee productivity due to sites and services being inaccessible.

To make matters worse, it’s predicted that DDoS attacks will start lasting longer, as many as 10 days. Such an attack, if not mitigated quickly, can easily cripple an organization and damage its reputation permanently. 

Did you know?: The cost of downtime can be much higher for some corporations. For example, in the last quarter of 2020, Apple and Amazon reported record-breaking revenues that averaged $950,000 per minute. Just an hour of downtime for a company generating this amount of income would cost more than $57,000,000.

How DNS Solutions Can Prevent DDoS and Botnet Attacks

Identifying normal traffic versus malicious activity during a DDoS attack is sometimes difficult. However, with the right DNS monitoring tools, you can spot anomalies or unusual traffic behavior and take steps to protect your domain accordingly. Redundancy, with DNS services such as Failover and Secondary DNS, will also ensure your site remains live during an attack.

How Failover Load Balancing Helps Mitigate DDoS Attacks

Failover is a type of DNS load balancing that acts as a safety net for your domain. This service allows you to configure multiple IP addresses or hosts for a domain and is based on the health of your servers. 

The way Failover works varies from one provider to the next, but is a simple and cost-effective solution for keeping domains up and running. At Constellix, health checks are performed through our Sonar Monitoring Suite, which detects anomalies and recognizes issues with your servers. And unlike many of our competitors, we also verify the status of your backup servers before routing your traffic to another IP as an extra precaution.

Failover offers excellent protection from poor-performing servers or outages. The downside is that if your DNS or CDN provider experiences an outage, your domain will still have downtime regardless of how many backup servers you have in your failover configuration. 

How Secondary DNS Helps Mitigate DDoS Attacks

As with Failover, Secondary DNS is an additional safety measure for your domain. But Secondary DNS is more than just a “backup.” With this configuration, you’ll have two authoritative nameservers for your domain. This option will ensure that your domain remains online even if your primary provider has an outage. Even with a 10+-year company history of zero downtime, we still recommend having two DNS providers. 

Our sister company DNS Made Easy supports traditional Secondary DNS, while Constellix supports primary/primary configurations with API calls through services like OctoDNS and Terraform.

How DNS Monitoring Tools Can Help With DDoS Prevention

DNS Monitoring Tools should also be an integral part of your DDoS prevention and mitigation strategy. With solutions like Constellix’s Real-Time Traffic Anomaly Detection (the only one of its kind in the industry), you can see anomalies and unusual traffic patterns as they happen. This allows you to make proactive decisions and prevent DDoS attacks from rendering your site inoperable, as there is typically a noticeable difference in traffic prior to a full shutdown. 

When choosing a DNS provider or if you’re attempting to strengthen your current DDoS mitigation strategy, be sure to ask about any DNS analytics and reporting features. Such tools are invaluable in preventing DDoS attacks before massive damage can occur as well as pinpointing misconfiguration errors.

DDOS Attack Mitigation and Monitoring Tools

DDoS Protection and Prevention is Possible With DNS

One of the most cost-effective and efficient ways of preventing DDoS attacks is by having redundancy at every point of failure. And fortunately, this can be done on the DNS level when you implement the right services into your strategy. Failover, Secondary DNS, and DNS monitoring tools can all help mitigate and prevent an attack—but utilizing all three of these methods together is the ultimate solution.

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