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Terabit DDoS attacks are coming, are you protected?

In recent years, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have become more frequent and sophisticated. Attackers continue to find new ways to flood target networks with massive-scale attacks that have grown exponentially and crossed the terabit attack rate.

This has become a major concern for enterprises and carriers worldwide, as the impact of these hyper volumetric DDoS attacks can be devastating. They cause extended downtime, financial losses and reputational damage.

That’s why it’s critically important that organisations are prepared to detect and mitigate these vicious attacks and why deploying the right type of mitigation platform is so important.

The Terabit DDoS attack era is here to stay. One of the emerging trends of DDoS attacks is hyper volumetric floods. These attacks generate traffic of more than a staggering 1Tbps (terabits per second).

A significant threat to organisations, terabit DDoS attacks can quickly overwhelm a network infrastructure and disrupt critical services.

Some of the largest recorded volumetric attacks include:

  • Google Services was targeted with a volumetric attack of 2.54Tbps.
  • Amazon AWS Infrastructure was targeted with a 2.3Tbps attack.
  • Microsoft Azure reported three terabit attacks: one of 3.47Tbps and two others that were more than 2.5Tbps.

In May 2021, my company successfully mitigated a hyper volumetric DDoS attack that peaked at almost 1.5Tbps. This volumetric carpet-bombing attack against the targeted subnet lasted for 36 hours. It had a sustained throughput of over 700Gbps for more than eight hours.

The total volume generated by this attack was 2.9Pbps, which was one-and-a-half times the information contained in all U.S. academic research libraries. And it was all successfully blocked.

Terabit volumetric floods are here to stay, and a proper mitigation device is a must for organisations to protect themselves.

Nielsen’s Law of Internet Bandwidth states that a user’s bandwidth grows 50% each year. It has held true for the past 40 years, from 1983 to 2023. This, along with 5G and 6G networks moving forward, proves human consumption and speed rate demands are enormous. But rest assured, this won’t slow down any time soon.

To support this increasing demand, data centres, carriers, service providers, and cloud platforms must keep up with the vast amounts of data. They have already adopted the latest network technology that has introduced 400G network infrastructure for high bandwidth and faster data transmission speeds.

What’s needed is a DDoS mitigation platform that will support these high throughput rates. In addition, they will need to keep up with the demanding throughput by having 400G data ports that can sustain and process detection and mitigation.

So how can organisations protect themselves against Terabit DDoS attacks? The answer lies in implementing a scalable and robust state-of-the-art DDoS mitigation solution with protection level tiers. The solution should include:

Multi-layered protection:  A multi-layered approach is crucial in mitigating Terabit DDoS attacks. This involves deploying a combination of the right network infrastructure, a mitigation appliance that can handle ultra-high-end rates and cloud-based solutions to ensure a diverse range of defences.

Traffic scrubbing:  This involves filtering out malicious traffic from legitimate traffic, enabling a network to remain online during an attack. A dedicated and robust DDoS mitigation hardware platform is great for combating Terabit DDoS attacks, but it isn’t enough.

On the software side, a behavioural DDoS countermeasure approach is needed to make sure attacks are quickly detected, and traffic is automatically filtered. This lets legitimate traffic in while keeping attack traffic out.

High port density, scale and performance: To handle huge amounts of traffic, whether during peacetime or while under attack, the mitigation platform hardware and software must be capable of handling high volumetric rates; very few can accomplish this.

Picking the right platform is key. Whether deploying the detection and mitigation platform inline or out-of-path will ensure a sustainable, clean and DDoS-free environment for customers.

To protect large network infrastructures, such as carriers, Tier-1 service providers and large enterprises, the mitigation platform must support high port density to inspect incoming traffic, remove threats and pass legitimate traffic to the protected network without creating a bottleneck.

It should include several 100G data ports and, if possible, 400G data ports. This will enable it to accommodate large network infrastructures.

Having high visibility and simplified management are crucial aspects of a DDoS mitigation platform. High visibility of the network and packet flow ensures that network administrators have clear and concise information, whether during peacetime or during an attack.

Information should include the attack’s origin, attack type, and impact on the network. This information is vital in helping administrators make informed decisions on how to best mitigate the attack and reduce damages.

Additionally, simplified management makes it easier for administrators to efficiently configure and manage the DDoS mitigation platform. This is particularly important in high-pressure situations where time is of the essence; the faster mitigation is implemented, the better.

Having the right management solution to provide visibility and control over high-end mitigation platforms is critical. The right high-end mitigation platform, along with a great management and analytics system, ensures organisations can protect their networks effectively and efficiently from Terabit DDoS attacks.

Doing so will minimise disruptions to operations and ensure systems and customers remain up and running and are secure.

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