DDoS Attacks: Top 10 Reasons You Are Not Protected Against Them

Your DDoS defenses are broken. Trust us on that. Yes, we know – how can we tell you something like that, out of the blue, without even knowing exactly who you are? Well, after completing hundreds of thousands of DDoS tests, we learned that there’s a 30-75% vulnerability gap across the industry. As networks become more complex, DDoS attacks are evolving, becoming more sophisticated and severe in the damage they cause enterprises. Whether you’re a financial institution or a gaming company, you have this gap in your DDoS defenses. Simply put, we haven’t seen any organization without it.

Many organizations are working under a false sense of security, thinking they are protected, not realizing they spend millions for solutions that cover a fraction of their dynamic attack surface. DDoS attacks generally fall within two categories – Volumetric and Application Layer attacks. No matter how much you’ve spent on mitigation efforts, most chances are that misconfigurations and lack of adequate offensive testing still leave you with zero visibility into your organization’s true DDoS readiness.

So, let’s understand together the top 10 reasons that can explain why this happens – and don’t worry, we’re going to give you a solution, or at least a solid tip on how to move forward.

  1. You can’t validate your DDoS protection efforts.

Congratulations! You’ve purchased the best mitigation solutions out there. You are working under the assumption that your organization is fully protected and everything is working fine. You’ve performed some red team testing, and you sleep well at night. But the truth is you and your vendors have no way to validate your DDoS mitigation layers. The dynamic attack surface is constantly evolving, which leads you and your vendors to be unaware of critical vulnerabilities.

In short – you have data to support your mitigation solution’s effectiveness. In fact, red-team testing cannot test 1/10th of 1% of your attack surface vulnerabilities – red-team testing only trains your team on how to recover from a damaging DDoS attack.

  1. You don’t have visibility during a DDoS attack.

During a DDoS attack, not having real-time visibility will significantly extend your downtime. And if one can’t correlate and connect all the network devices and protocols, attackers have a lot of spare time to find the weakest link. Some of them even whistle joyfully while doing that, which makes the entire ordeal even more frustrating for their victims, who try to get back online as quickly as possible. But seriously, how long will it take you to understand the effects on the firewall, router, application servers, and database in your organization during a DDoS attack?

  1. Your system is configured incorrectly for your environment.

You’ve paid a lot for your DDoS protection, plus all the ongoing service costs as part of your mitigation efforts. You want to be prepared, naturally, or you might have regulations. But the companies from which you’ve built your mitigation layers need to provide the service while also maintaining a lean organization. Therefore, the system is configured for the basic and most common environments – which aren’t yours. Every organization has its own needs and systems and even though one might assume that similarities will be common, there are still many variants that will leave you exposed and vulnerable.

  1. Your system is too complex to use.

Your organization has the most cutting-edge mitigation solutions. You’ve spent a small fortune on cyber defense – but no one actually knows how to use it, and there’s no time to learn. The dynamic attack surface and cyber battlefield are rapidly evolving, and this is especially true with DDoS attacks and mitigation – and there are simply not enough hours in the work week to catch up – thus, you and your organization are left exposed, out there in the cold.

  1. Outdated technology – industry-wide DDoS issue.

Most CPE solutions and scrubbing centers providing network protection are lagging in technological updates and are not reliably effective. The complexity of attacks has evolved to become more hazardous. Traditional mitigation systems simply can’t keep up with an ever-increasing dynamic DDoS attack surface. And no offensive testing done quarterly or bi-annually by disruptive red-team testing is enough to keep you up to date with the configuration changes required, as they deliver only partial results while compromising your uptime.

  1. Someone on your team forgot to put something back.

Human errors, or even “The Human Factor,” is actually more common than you think. Let’s say you are adding a new system inside the network and don’t want the DDoS appliance to block traffic toward it for some “temporary” period. Your team member might have put the appliance in report mode instead of block mode. And left it there. And this is just the simplest example. Every day brings new examples of human errors that are simply natural. Putting something back, turning something off, these mistakes happen all the time.

  1. You have human employees.

We are the weakest link, and yes, in the previous point, we’ve mentioned the human factor, but it’s more than that. Human errors are just part of the game; let’s not forget working environments, ever-evolving work ethics and protocols, and even office hours and attendance. Everything regarding the human factor is changing so quickly that employees must be constantly trained to use the DDoS technology that’s protecting their organizational infrastructure.

  1. You’re operating under a false sense of security.

In the simplest of words, how do you know you are safe? What assumptions made you so sure? Most organizations assume that they must be protected because they have the latest and greatest protection and because they’ve invested so much in mitigation. But in fact, they – and you – have no way of knowing that for sure. Even if you have top-of-the-line protections, are they configured to work together? Are they set up correctly, or do you have gaps in your protection levels?

And do you know how to control your DDoS security solutions and environment, should the need arise? If any of these questions make you a tad uncomfortable, then you’ve been operating under a false sense of security.

  1.  Unprotected services.

A very common mistake that we’ve found after completing initial RADAR™ testing for new customers is miscommunication which causes severe gaps in the system. For example, a server is added to an environment and is not configured as part of the DDoS profile or policy. The networking team often doesn’t inform the security team that this has been done, and as a result, the security team doesn’t even know that they must secure it at all. Remember, any new service is a receptor to traffic and part of the dynamic attack surface – and should be protected by a DDoS mitigation policy.

  1. You’d rather not know about DDoS vulnerabilities.

We’ve come to the most human and natural reason of them all. Most of us would rather just not know. We love living in denial and telling ourselves that everything is OK because once we know about the risks, we’ll be living in fear of what’s out there. And once you know what’s out there, it’s scary to know that you’re not fully protected. In fact, the situation is far from it, with current DDoS protection. It’s scary, and it also forces you to be accountable.

You’ve spent so much on mitigation, but your organization is still vulnerable to DDoS attacks, which have become a global issue. This is a scary truth to face, and in many cases, it is exactly what happens.

But it’s not all bad!

Remember, we promised you tips and solutions, and the good news is that if you test your system on a regular basis, you can find these problems and fix them pretty quickly with just a few configuration changes. And if you can do that without damaging your ongoing activity, that’s even better. Organizations must have ongoing persistent visibility into their DDoS vulnerabilities and protection in order to maximize their mitigation investment.

To achieve this, it is essential to have total visibility into the dynamic attack surface as well as remediation insights. MazeBolt’s RADAR testing is the only solution to deliver this, allowing cybersecurity teams to take a proactive approach by continuously detecting threats and misconfigurations and analyzing and prioritizing remediation across the network. RADAR testing seamlessly works with all the organizations’ mitigation layers, automatically simulating DDoS attacks on live environments with ZERO operational downtime.

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