Network-based protection against denial-of-service-attacks

* Verizon Business' expanded services protect against denial-of-service-attacks

A recent announcement by Verizon Business concerning an expanded suite of protection "in the cloud" from denial-of-service-attacks is a great example of services that should be provided within the service providers' networks - something that we've been advocating for years.

Of course, there’s nothing new about denial-of-service-attacks. These attacks, which started primarily as “TCP SYN” attacks, basically are designed to disable a site – or even an entire network – by using up critical network resources with bogus traffic of some form.

One of the network resources that can immediately become saturated is the access facility to the customer site. This “last mile” is chronically one of the least reliable links in the network. Additionally, other network resources can be brought to their knees by these attacks, sometimes then allowing the attacking party to exploit other vulnerabilities.

Verizon Business’ service provides two fundamental and separate functions – attack detection and attack mitigation. The attack detection service does exactly what you would expect. Once an attack is detected, customers may choose simply to be notified (so that their internal defenses can be heightened). Or, more likely, the customer may also choose to take advantage of the “mitigation” service in which case the traffic is filtered – still within the network – by Verizon, and only the “real” traffic is passed through.

According to various sources, both the number of attacks and the severity of the attacks are on the rise worldwide. Initially, most of these attacks were the result of “playful hackers” taking advantage of various holes in predominant protocols. However, according to Jonathan Nguyen-Duy, Director of Product Management at Verizon Business, two major drivers today for denial-of-service attacks are extortion and various national security interests. In fact, one of the key features of Verizon Business’ expanded service is that it can be up and running within 14 days. Also, the service is now available in 24 countries globally.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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