DDoS Attacks Coming to the Cloud

Michael Vizard

There's an old saying that roughly goes: With small children come small problems. Big children, on the other hand, come with big problems.

So too it is with data centers. When IT organizations managed a lot of data centers, the scope of the issues to be addressed reflected the size of the data center. Now as IT organizations consolidate data centers, the problems to be addressed are getting bigger as well.

One of the first things that many IT organizations will discover is that once you consolidate data centers and start building out a private cloud, your data centers become bigger security targets. After all, there's a lot more activity in these data centers, and all that activity gets on the radar screens of the bad guys pretty quickly.

In fact, anybody who has worked for an Internet service provider can tell you how aggressive and persistent those bad guys can be. And their favorite form of attack is the distributed denial of service DDoS).

The motivation for these attacks used to be pretty rudimentary; they usually involved some form of extortion where the attacker asks for money to make the attacks disappear or some activist group simply wanted to make a political statement. But now these attacks are part of state-sponsored cyber wars that don't discriminate between governments and business.

The issue that many traditional IT organizations are likely to face now that they are running bigger, albeit fewer, data centers is that these DDoS attacks are increasingly going to be aimed at them. According to Rakesh Shaw, director of product marketing for Arbor Networks, DDoS attacks are not only increasing in volume, they are also being aimed at specific types of applications and services, usually involving transactions. Driving this increased volume of attacks is a legion of botnets specifically built to automate the attack process. So the day when these types of attacks are aimed at more traditional IT organizations is now at hand.

Shah says you no longer need to have a big Web presence or be an ISP to be subject to a DDoS attack. You just need to have something of value. Unfortunately, many traditional IT organizations don't have a lot of direct experience with DDoS attacks, said Shah

Arbor Networks is trying to make it easier for IT organizations to deal with these attacks with the release of a stand-alone appliance that runs its Threat Mitigation System (TMS) software that was originally developed for ISPs trying to fend off thousands of attacks. Now as more traditional enterprise organizations move into cloud computing, they can add TMS to their existing portfolio of security products or they can opt to deploy a full Arbor PeakFlow SP system, said Shah.

There are, of course, multiple ways to defend against these types DDoS attacks. And while you may never know when and where they will hit, more DDoS attacks are on their way to an enterprise near you in the not too distant future.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Oct 22, 2010 8:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
In our experience Arbor's technology is still too expensive and lacks the features and functionality of todays leading DDoS solutions. The game has moved on, Arbor needs to catch up. Reply
Apr 8, 2011 1:04 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
For SMBs the only viable solution is Cloud based DDoS providers who have substantial bandwidth, equipment & expertise. The reality is if the attacker can overload your connection to the outside world, how valuable is a piece of hardware that sits on your premise. SMBs should look at Verisign, Neustar & others who have expertise and size to deal with large attacks. Reply

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