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How to Fix A DDoS Attack and Minimize Your Damage

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Being DDoSed can be among the worst things that can happen to any business website.

Such attacks not only cause financial damage to your site by making it inaccessible but also cause irreversible damage to your reputation.

Therefore, it’s important to fix them in time.

If your website has been hit by a DDoS Attack, don’t worry.

In this article, we’re going to tell you how to fix a DDoS Attack in a timely manner. Let’s start!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do DDoS Attacks Last?

A DDoS attack can last for as long as your server is capable of handling the requests.

The main purpose of such attacks is to force your server to shut down by the sheer amount of requests it needs to answer, so the attack can continue until your server has crumbled in front of it.

Can You Fix a DDoS Attack?

Yes, you can. With proper knowledge and understanding of DDoS attacks and server technology, it’s possible to protect your website from this kind of attack.

What You’ll Need to Fix A DDoS Attack

Depending on the complexity of the attack, you may need the following items in order to fix an ongoing DDoS attack on your server:

  1. Contact information of your ISP
  2. Contact information of your cybersecurity service provider
  3. Wireless application firewall
  4. DDoS protection system
  5. Another web server.

How to Fix A DDoS Attack: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step #1: Make Sure It’s A DDoS Attack

The first step to taking action is ensuring what you’re experiencing is indeed a DDoS attack and not something else.

As technology has advanced, the nature of DDoS attacks has also become more difficult to detect.

While low-level attacks can be easily recognized by your cybersecurity systems, complex attacks that come in short bursts during peak traffic hours, target a certain page, or use other methods to remain undetectable, can be more difficult to detect.

Here’s what you can do in such situations:

  1. Check the IP addresses of the traffic you’re receiving. If the majority of them look quite similar to each other, it’s quite likely a DDoS attack.
  2. If there’s a pattern in the traffic activity on your server (i.e. sudden surge and sudden drop, unusual timing, unusual geolocation, etc.), that may also be a sign of being DDoSed.

Step #2: Contact Your Cybersecurity Provider and ISP

Once you’re sure that your website is being DDoSed, the first thing you should do is alert your cybersecurity provider and Internet Service Provider regarding the same.

They’re usually in a much better position to take the right steps and stop an attack than you or anyone on your team.

Many leading ISPs nowadays include DDoS protection in their plans (i.e. AT&T includes reactive protection, Verizon includes DDoS Shield), so if your server is under attack they can immediately block the traffic coming your way from attackers.

Same applies to external cybersecurity services too — with their tools, data, and experience they can swiftly identify an attack, its source, and the necessary steps to interrupt it.

In fact, you’re in a better position than someone who is just dependent on their ISP if you have an existing cybersecurity service provider managing your systems.

But if you don’t have a dedicated cybersecurity service provider on your payroll, follow the next steps to fix a DDoS attack.

Step #3: Alert Employees and Key Stakeholders

Your staff members — especially the ones who deal with IT and networking — should be notified of the attack as soon as you find out about it.

You should also let them know if steps are being taken to mitigate the attack or not, so they too can act (or not act) accordingly.

In addition to alerting employees and key stakeholders, ensure that you furnish them with comprehensive details about the nature of the attack, its potential impacts, and the ongoing efforts to address it. This will enable them to make informed decisions and, if interested, read more about the incident to stay updated on its progress.

Step #4: Activate Countermeasures

With your ISP and employees notified of the DDoS attack, you should start taking the following countermeasures immediately:

Implement IP-based Access Control Lists (ACLs)

If a large chunk of your DDoS traffic is coming from a single source or a handful of sources (i.e. similar IP addresses), then the easiest way to halt it is by implementing IP-based access control lists (ACLs).

These lists allow you to block the traffic coming from IP addresses within a certain range.

Once you’ve done this, the attackers will no longer be able to consume any resources on your server.

ACLs can be implemented either at the network router level by your system administrator or by your ISP.

However, this approach won’t work if your traffic is coming from a wide range of IP addresses.

Enable a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

If your DDoS traffic is coming from a wide range of IP addresses, it means you’re being targeted by an application-style DDoS attack.

In that situation, a Web Application Firewall (WAF) can come to your rescue.

Ideally, you would have implemented such a system before the attack took place, but better late than never!

If your existing security systems do not have a WAF enabled, install and enable it as soon as possible.

Most of the modern WAFs from reliable cybersecurity brands are capable of detecting suspicious activity on their own and taking the necessary steps to mitigate it.

Some popular and reliable WAFs include:

Put a DDoS Protection System in Place

If your attack is not fixed even by a WAF, then only a dedicated DDoS protection system can help you.

These systems cost more than any of the other methods explained above.

At the same time, they also provide the most robust protection against any type of DDoS attack.

Enabling a DDoS protection system on your server can help you mitigate an ongoing attack too in a very swift and reliable manner.

DDoS protection systems come in two forms: cloud-based systems or a hybrid combination of cloud-based and hardware device(s).

Both have their own pros and cons, but we’d suggest a cloud-based system when you’re already under attack.

We suggest that because they are quicker to activate in comparison to hybrid solutions. Some popular options include:

Once you have enabled a DDoS protection system, it will detect the ongoing attack and fix it on its own.

Bonus tip: If your website is powered by WordPress, we’d suggest using Cloudflare with WordPress to protect it from DDoS.

Migrate to Another Server

Finally, if a DDoS protection system is out of your budget and the other two methods (i.e. WAF and ACLs) are not working, the best solution will be to immediately migrate to another server.

This will, however, require having a backup of your data if you want to migrate without losing your content.

If you have that backup, you can quickly buy a new web server, move all your data to the new server using your backup, enable the necessary DDoS protection, and then map the DNS of your domain to the new server.

In most cases, this can give you a quick respite from the menace of DDoS attacks.

However, it’s also worth keeping in mind that attackers can still find your new server address in some time.

So before it’s too late you should put more robust systems in place to block them from taking over your server resources again.

Step #5: Monitor Attack Progression and Mitigation

If your DDoS attack is being mitigated by a 3rd party cybersecurity firm, this is a crucial step.

You need to monitor the attack progression and the performance of your defense against it to get an idea of how effective the cybersecurity service providers are at what they’re doing.

Keep an eye on two important things:

  • Time consumed to mitigate
  • Consistency of mitigation (i.e. how effectively and reliably the attack has been stopped).

These two things are mentioned in the service level agreements (SLAs) of every cybersecurity service provider when you hire them.

If you find that they are taking longer than the committed timeframe to mitigate the DDoS attack, or if the attackers are able to attack you again and again even after their mitigation, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your relationship with the cybersecurity service provider.

Step #6. Always Have A DDoS Plan in Place

Finally, make sure that you do not end up in a similar situation once again.

Put a proper DDoS mitigation plan in place, which should include the following elements:

  1. Installing (or upgrading) cybersecurity systems to prevent attacks;
  2. An action plan that can be activated immediately in case of an attack;
  3. 3rd party cybersecurity service providers who are capable of handling the attack, in case things go out of hand
  4. Cybersecurity insurance to compensate for the damages that occur because of such incidents.

Once you have these elements in place, your business will be in a much better position to take on any sort of DDoS attacks in the future.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

  • How to Remove Malware From WordPress: Malware is one of the biggest problems for any website, and WordPress websites are a major target for such attacks. This tutorial explains how to keep your WordPress site safe from such attacks.
  • How To Block a Website on a Computer: This tutorial explains how to block a website on your computer so it can’t be accessed anymore. It can be really useful for parental controls and office policies.
  • How To Stop Spam Comments in WordPress: Besides malware and DDoS Attacks, WordPress websites are also prime targets for spam comments and it’s among the basics of WordPress security to learn about them. This tutorial explains how to protect your website from spam comments.

Wrapping Up

So this was our guide explaining how to fix a DDoS attack.

Ideally, the focus should be on preventing such attacks before they take place because downtime of even a few hours can cost you thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, if you have already been attacked then the steps outlined above can help you minimize the damages.

What do you think about the process outlined above? Were we able to explain everything in detail?

Share your feedback in the comments, and if you still have any questions then share them as well. We’ll try to answer them so you can fix your DDoS attacks easily.

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