2 years ago

Load Balancing – Basic Concepts of Network Load Division

Load balancing common term in computing whereby the load of the network is divided between the amount of work that a computer has to do between two or more computers so that more work gets done in the same amount of time and, in general, all users get served faster.

Load balancing is usually implemented with hardware, software, or could also be implemented with a combination of both. On average, load balancing is the main reason for computer server clustering.

On the Internet, businesses whose websites get a lot of traffic usually require and utilize the concept of load balancing. For load balancing the Web traffic, there are a number of approaches. Work magnitude is distributed among more number of computers to ensure larger quantity of work completed in the given time limit and a faster service is at hand of all users. Load balancing can be implemented with hardware, software, or a combination of both. A Web page request is sent to a “manager” server, which then determines which of several identical or very similar Web servers to forward the request to for handling. One approach is to divert each request towards a separate server's host address within a domain name system table, round-robin fashion. Having a Web farm (as such a configuration is sometimes called) allows traffic to be handled more quickly. Since load balancing requires multiple servers, it is usually requires back up services. In few cases, the servers are dispersed in different destinations around the vicinity

 Load balancing differs from channel bonding; load balancing divides the traffic between network interfaces on a network socket (OSI model – layer 4) basis where as in channel bonding the division of traffic is between physical interfaces at a much lower level. Channel bonding uses the OSI model - layer 3 and if on a data link it uses OSI model – layer 2 basis with a protocol such as shortest path bridging.

The most widely applied area of load balancing involves the provision of   a unit Internet service derived from multiple servers, sometimes known as server farm. Commonly load-balanced systems include popular web sites, large Internet Relay Chat networks, high-bandwidth Network News Transfer Protocol servers Data servers, File Transfer Protocol sites, and Domain Name System servers,

Hardware and software load balancing systems have a wide range of special features. The most universal and widespread features are:

  • Asymmetric load: A ratio which is manually assigned to cause some servers to get more workload than others
  • Priority activation: if the load seems to be getting too high, standby servers can be brought online.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack protection: load balancing can provide certain features such as SYN cookies and delayed-binding
  • HTTP compression: cuts down the amount of data to be transferred for HTTP objects by utilizing gzip compression available in all modern web browsers.
  • TCP offload: every HTTP request from every client has a different TCP connection.
  • TCP buffering: the load balancing buffers the responses from the server out to the clients, letting the web server to be free for threads for other tasks quicker
  • Firewall: straight connections to all the backend servers are prohibited, for network security reasons Firewall encompasses a set of rules which decide whether the traffic may pass through an interface or not.
2 years ago

Why DDoS attacks are such a nuisance?

There are many different forms of hacking and some of them are relatively simple looking but can cause devastation when used to their full capability. One of these is DDoS assaults which are aimed at crashing the targeted network server they are implemented on. DDoS assaults are made successful and effective by usage of multiple resources spread internationally that send so much traffic and requests to the server that it exceeds its bandwidth allocation. This means that the server is unable to process it all and comes to a standstill which is the purpose of DDoS attacks. Hackers then move in to wreak havoc and make the best or you might say worst, of the situation. 

Because in today’s modern society much of personal information is available on the internet in one form or the other, DDoS assaults provide a major risk because they can jeopardize the reputation of organizations which protect them and compromise the personal data that people hold dear. In case of loss of data by a reputable business organization, it can easily result in millions of dollars’ worth damages. Since the identity of DDoS attacks is hard to find out, there can be no repercussions of DDoS attackers and they remain at large.

DDoS attacks are mostly orchestrated by people or organizations even who have some enmity with another organization or individual. They are also utilized by business organizations who are looking to undermine their competitor by hook or by crook. They exploit DDoS attacks to damage their competitors and make their business suffer financially and lose reputation. Most of all, it is a favored weapon by cyber criminals who steal data from websites and use it illegally. As money transactions are made online along with huge deals, all this data is stored online and once hackers get hold of this information, they either extort for ransom or look to the highest bidder for it.

To counter DDoS attacks, DDoS mitigation methods are put in place which are aimed at controlling bandwidth, type of data and streamlining usage within servers to increase security against such attacks. But placing protective protocols in place is no easy task: DDoS mitigation does not come cheap as an entire infrastructure has to be put in place to handle such attacks which also requires technical staff to be in place to handle it. Moreover, hackers can use hacked bots to attack or even increase the potency of their assaults. An easy way of overcoming this hurdle is to hire DDoS mitigation services which have their own setup in place and provide services to those in need. 

2 years ago

Why Web Application Firewalls are so important

Software technology has evolved to a huge level and with it comes the need for advanced cyber security. Any application accessing the network is at risk of cyber attacks and they require security protocols to keep data safe. Any breach in security can be quite costly so keeping your private information safe is important. Web Application Firewall does just the trick by keeping such data away from prying eyes and shutting down or blocking activities of hackers and malicious softwares.

Web Application Firewall softwares come in the form of plug ins or additional software which asses the information and tasks being given to a web application. Before execution of such tasks, it checks the coding of these softwares, if they are safe or not and then allows them access to the computer. There are many risks associated with data security breach on the net and some of them are given below, which make implementation of Web Application Firewalls important.

·         Malicious softwares and hackers use Path Traversal Exploits which allow them to hack into various segments of a website which have restricted access to visitors. These root directory documents contain sensitive data which must be protected.

·         By increasing flow of traffic onto site, it can be forced to crash. Many competitors use such nasty tactics to crash a website. Any client coming to such a slow and unstable website to purchase product will automatically be dissatisfied and will be discouraged from purchase. This causes damage to business and hence Web Application Firewall integration is critical.

·         Information stolen from websites can cause millions of dollars’ worth damage. Not only that but it can jeopardize and compromise entire operations of an organization. Their safeguarding is critical and Web Application Firewall does just that.

·         Hacking onto an ongoing session causes complications because the hacker can use that session to do anything with that users identity as it is logged with their credentials. This causes damage to user as well as to the legitimacy of organization as it failed to protect their client details.

·         Hackers can add malicious softwares onto the mainframe of a site which is then flooded with such malware, causing it to be labelled as spam which in turn blocks it. Web Application Firewall prevents such attacks and disables any malicious software uploads onto the system, keeping it safe.

In reality all web applications are at risk of cyber attacks whether they are personal, commercial or recreational. Hackers and malicious softwares can compromise security of websites but identification of these threats is the end of them. Once they have been pointed, counter attacks and defenses can be launched against them.

Web Application Firewall are the answer to all these threats because they review codes continuously to ensure they are safe for execution and hence guarantee application and data safety. Web Application Firewall analyzes and identifies any malicious pattern and its regular updates guarantee that it is updated to the latest types of malware security, making it the perfect software to guarantee your privacy.

2 years ago

Advantages of integrating Web Application Firewall onto systems

Securing data is a critical aspect nowadays as all data is digitalized and is prone to cyber attacks and hacking. This makes privacy a very important aspect of keeping data secure and this is where Web Application Firewall system comes in place, which works beautifully in doing just this. Web Application Firewall works by examining data being received by an application. It does not allow the application to directly access this data but acts as an intermediate source to check whether the data is dangerous or not. If it is safe then Web Application Firewall gives permission to it for execution on system. Otherwise, it is blocked access and scrapped.

The internet is full of malicious softwares and parties looking to cause harm by stealing private data. Keeping a good Web Application Firewall is a safe way to filter information and disallow malware from infiltrating your system. Not only that but it comes with many other additional advantages, some of which are listed below.

Adherence to PCI DSS protocols

Credit card companies, stock brokers and other organizations which work online and handle sensitive data are most prone to such attacks, which makes their security very important. PCI clearly laid down certain standards to which such companies must adhere to so that they not only keep themselves safe but their client information remain secure as well. These protocols are known as PCI DSS and state that a such organizations should have a Web Application Firewall in place or should have review of coding and security testing to ensure that their data cannot be breached. Web Application Firewall is the better option because it allows the organization an easier option to choose which is cost effective, easy to implement and very effective in nature.

Relative easy installation and no need for additional software or hardware

Being an application which comes as a software add on or a plug in, it does need any hardware for it specifically. The Web Application Firewall when installed start working immediately and gives warranted protection against threats. Such softwares come with helplines as well which guide through any manual installation or configuration which make them easy to implement and provide good security.

Effective nature

Web Application Firewall is a very effective choice to protect data because they are continuously being updated by the team that wrote their code. This means that zero day events (malicious software and cyber attacks which are new and have no patches or countermeasures) are immediately assessed and their patches are made, which means those who have not experienced such attacks also benefit from update. These updates bring better coding and a more operational software onto the platform.

2 years ago

Benefits of Employing Load Balancing Solutions

Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that their current hardware is more than capable of handling all the computational requirements, in order to run a successful business smoothly. In any way, the bigger your venture grows, the more resources it demands, and even more power will be required from your network infrastructure. As many greats have done, if you aim to cater to the requests of a lot of users, making use of load balancing solutions is the only sane thing to do here. What is it? Load Balancers distribute the incoming request over a number of servers and related resources so as to optimize performance. If you are yet to incorporate such solutions into your operations, don’t wait any longer, conduct a thorough research as to how will it benefit you. Some of the major reasons are listed below:

Optimized Resource Utilization

Computers are capable of much more than what is typically asked of them. The fact that they are not used to their fullest capacity leads to a lot of unused power. If you are looking to get more out of your current hardware setup, then you should employ a load balancing solution to maximize resource utilization and optimize the efficiency of your day to day operations.

Reducing the Response Time

In layman terms, response time is the time it takes a request to completely be executed. In the fast paced world of today, every second counts, which is why it is very important to keep the response time as low as possible. Also, if your response time is long, no matter how much value your products and services bring to the table, the user will replace you with the competition.

While your hardware may allow you to provide with a set amount of speed by itself, harnessing the power from everything available in your arsenal will allow you to work in a very timely manner and will ultimately reduce the response time by a lot.

Avoiding Traffic Overload

Again, redundancy is very important to keep the systems in check and operating at full capacity. Creating said redundancy is crucial to scenarios when one system goes down, the backup kicks in to handle all the requests until the primary system is fully recovered. If you don’t have any backups in your setup, it could derail your whole operation. With Load Balancing solutions in place, you can avoid traffic rush during all the high seasons while operating at maximum efficiency.

You can leverage load balancing solutions to gain an immeasurable advantage over your competition who don’t employ such solutions to protect their resources. As they say, “Time is money”, it holds very much true while running a business. Any delays in the product/service delivery could lead to disastrous results and a very bad reputation. So make sure that you act on it today, conduct a thorough research to find the best service provider and employ their services to get the most out of your current hardware arsenal.

Even in this age of highly advanced tools and technologies, many organizations fail to comprehend the importance of load balancing and neglect it all together. This post is aimed at enlightening the reader about the benefits of employing it.

2 years ago

Best Practices to Stop and Recover From a DDoS Attack

Although DDoS attacks can be very devastating there is still a lot you can do about it. Here it is very important to understand that standalone solutions aren’t enough, at least at the current stage of technology. If you want to execute ample DDoS mitigation, what you need to do is stay vigilante and never remove the human factor from the equation, as this mistake could lead to a fortune going down the drain. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices which can be employed to minimize the damage of these attacks.

Don’t rely on a single solution

The first step to success is recognizing that your firewall alone is insufficient against the DDoS attacks of today. The sooner you realize this the better actions you can take to mitigate the impact of the attack.

Integrate DDoS mitigation into your Business Continuity Plan

It is very much possible that your company has contingency and disaster recovery plans which outline the steps and procedures to be executed in case of an outage or an attack. You need to include procedures for effective mitigation of DDoS attacks in this plan which will help in minimizing the response delay and help ensure that your products and services are being delivered at optimal efficiency.

Educate yourself

If you don’t even know when you are under an attack, how are you going to react appropriately? That said, not all delays and downtimes point towards an attack. Some indications of an active DDoS attack are as follows:

-          No access any specific website

-          Unavailability of the website altogether

-          Sharp increase in the number of received spam

-          Exceedingly slow network performance

Know Your Users

Most of the times a company has limited geographically constrained market. That said, if you begin receiving traffic from outside your target or your market, be very cautious as it could very well be an attempt to comprise your system.

Measure the impact of being offline for a set time period

How much is it going to cost you if no transactions occur over the next couple of hours? The cost varies from company to company. Calculating the financial impact would be a great justification for the cost of DDoS mitigation services in front of the executives.

Look for breaches and other criminal activity on your network

Most of the times DDoS attacks are executed in order to cover up any other malicious activity going on in the background. Many experts of today already agree to this statement and they even include data breaches and financial fraud.

Who You Gonna Call? DDoS-Busters!!!

If you don’t have any DDoS protection solutions set up, then you should know exactly who to contact when under attack. It is very much practical to explore the DDoS mitigation services in the market and making the decision as to which vendor is suitable to contact in case of an emergency. It is pretty much like choosing a doctor beforehand to save time in case of emergencies.

The number of DDoS attacks carried out is increasing with each passing day, nobody is safe. Which is why it is very important for organizations to have a plan to mitigate the impact of the attacks.

2 years ago

Thwarting DDoS Attacks

When you are under a DDoS attack, its more or less like having your house flooded. Without any warning, hackers can disrupt your operations. During these attacks every passing moment counts, but unfortunately by the time some of the available solutions detect and report the attack, the damage is done. In the fast paced business market of today, every business owner must employ some sort of DDoS mitigation even to stand a chance against these attacks. The volumetric attacks, although devastating, can take a while before the internal services and users begin noticing their effects. More so, the attacks on the application layer level are a lot hard to detect because of their low volume profile.

When the mitigation starts too late, the damage may already be done, the hackers (whatever their motive may be) long gone and the service rendered unavailable to your users.

The Deployment Methods and The Detection

There are a lot of ways a team of security professionals can monitor the network and perform ample DDoS mitigation. One of the most popular approaches is sampling the traffic flow, as almost all the routers some sort of Flow tech, such as IPFIX, sFlow, or NetFlow. This procedure requires the router to sample the data packets and then export a datagram which contains information about that packet. Now this tech is very commonly available and it can easily scale up or down to match your needs.

As an alternative, mirrored data packets can be used for an in-depth analysis, just not necessarily the path of the onslaught of the traffic. This provides with quick detection of anomalies in the traffic. Setting up mirroring for a large network can be a very tedious task, yet it could be a great weapon against such attacks for mitigation centers and centralized analysis.

Keep an eye on those performance metrics

Bandwidth is a very important metric for most organizations. Although it is very important, the devil is in the details. Ultimately the devices installed on-premise process the packets which are typically of varying sizes. Small packets employ lesser bandwidth and the bigger ones tend to use up more. That said, by sending many small packets at a very high rate can stress out your network infrastructure. Also, these security systems are very much vulnerable to high rate assaults such as various flooding attacks.

Assure Scalability

As the DDoS attacks enter the network with high frequency of data packets, you need such a DDoS mitigation solution which can handle the onslaught of data packets with enough processing power. Scaling the analytical infrastructure is also a very important consideration. Flow technology can easily scale up or down but it costs a lot.

Regular inspection of the performance of your network’s security is very crucial to ascertain that the DDoS mitigation solution as well as others are holding up and will do so when under attack. That said, flooding a network is very much similar to flooding a home. The sooner you know about it; the sooner you can take the apt actions.

While firewalls and antivirus solutions may help you avert the impending attacks to some extent, it is very important to make the apt preparations and use a combination of these to get the best DDoS mitigation