Advanced strategies for preventing DDoS attacks on ISPs

Juan Camilo Ruiz

Juan Camilo Ruiz

In the field of IT security, DDoS attacks represent one of the most persistent and evolving threats to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Advanced prevention and mitigation strategies must be considered, because the risk is permanent and cybercriminals have become more specialized over time.

Tools and advances that have been beneficial for automating tasks, such as AI, also serve to technicalize threats.

Anatomy of a modern DDoS attack

DDoS attacks have evolved from mere traffic flooding to sophisticated techniques that exploit specific vulnerabilities, abuse the use of IoT; and all on a large scale and automated with the use of botnets. Understanding their structure and tactics is essential to developing effective defenses.

If we wanted to dramatize a DDoS attack, we could use the image of a restaurant where, suddenly, a crowd of people enters and starts ordering hundreds of dishes at the same time, leaving the staff unable to serve them all. 

But that's not what today's DDoS attacks are like, because - following the same example - they would no longer need people to overwhelm the waiters and cooks in the restaurant in question. With the advancement of technology, these attacks have become more complex and dangerous. Today, they can be customized and specifically targeted at particular weaknesses in a system using, as mentioned above, botnets to automate and utilize Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Attackers control these botnets to send massive requests to a specific target, resulting in system overload.


Leer también: Los ataques DDoS: interrupciones al corazón de los negocios


Risk and vulnerability assessment of ISP infrastructures

A thorough infrastructure analysis is critical. As an ISP you must continually assess your network for potential vulnerabilities, including the ability to perform traffic monitoring and profiling and determine a traffic baseline; properly plan routing and information exchanges via BGP.  Complementarily, you can consider the use of firewalls and the robustness of authentication systems. Identifying weak points allows a more targeted and effective response. 

The impact of a DDoS attack can be enormous. Not only because of the consequences of the temporary interruption of services, but also because of the serious financial consequences for the affected companies. In addition, it can damage a brand's reputation and user confidence. How are you protecting yourself?

Keep in mind that protection against DDoS attacks involves several strategies. Among them, the implementation of a good security infrastructure, the constant monitoring of web traffic and the use of specialized DDoS mitigation services. It is crucial to always be one step ahead, as attack methods are constantly evolving.


Implementation of advanced mitigation solutions

Advanced DDoS mitigation solutions go beyond basic traffic filtering tools. The implementation of artificial intelligence (AI)-based detection and response systems, network segmentation, and collaboration with traffic exchange centers (IXPs) to better distribute and manage traffic during an attack are critical. In addition, the use of predictive analytics to anticipate and block attacks before they impact the network is a proactive approach that ISPs should consider.

 1. Proactive assessment and preparation

  • Risk analysis: Identify critical assets and assess their vulnerability to possible DDoS attacks.
  • Response plan: Develop an incident response plan that includes communication and escalation protocols.

2. Layered defense

  • Perimeter protection: use firewalls and intrusion prevention systems to filter malicious traffic.
  • Load balancing: distribute incoming traffic among several servers to reduce the load on a single point.

3. Cloud-based solutions

  • Cloud mitigation: Adopt cloud mitigation services that can absorb and disperse large volumes of attack traffic known as Scrubbing Centers.
  • Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): Use CDNs to distribute traffic and improve resiliency and speed of access to cont

4. Real-time analysis and response

  • Detection and response systems: implement real-time systems that detect anomalous traffic patterns and automatically trigger mitigation measures to prevent the propagation of congestion and bandwidth unusability as a result of the attack event.

  • Continuous monitoring: establish constant monitoring of network traffic to identify and proactively respond to attacks.

5.Collaboration and awareness

  • Sector cooperation: participate in threat information exchange groups to stay abreast of the latest attack and defense tactics.
  • Employee training: educate staff on security best practices and the importance of vigilance.

Juan Camilo Ruiz

Juan Camilo Ruiz

Juan Camilo is an electronic engineer, an expert in technology, telecommunications and digital transformation processes, and currently works as product manager in security and managed services at InterNexa for the entire region.