Complications In Rooting Out A DDoS attack: Differentiating Between Legitimate Visitors And Bots

Visitors And Bots

Everyone is aware of how difficult it can be when it comes to fixing certain errors. During the product design phase, the final design goes through numerous errors and hardships. Quality assurance teams detect and fix errors in software, websites, and other digital products and services. Electronic servers and robots are prone to them too.

As part of their arsenal, these kinds of online attacks also use DDoS attacks. This is an indicator that such aspects of digital products should be detected early so that companies can improve their products, and improve their products’ security and defenses too.

Why is it important to identify and define the warning signs clearly?

It is really important to define the signs clearly especially when it comes to differentiating between real-time requests and visitors, from fake ones (especially bots). They are instrumental in determining the attack at its early stages. This ensures that the software used for preventing DDoS attacks can detect and defeat bad bots easily.

It is also important for websites and web apps using HTTP to start using HTTPS and UDP. HTTPS is more secure.

Understanding a DDoS protection system

In general terms, a DDoS protection system can be described by way of its modus operandi and how it detects bogus requests and traffic. It works as a DNS DDoS Protection system protecting networks, software, apps, servers, and other digital apparatus from all forms of online attacks.

These systems check incoming requests, any headers in use, the style and working method of these attacks, the intensity of these methods, and other relevant factors to deter these attacks.

It is on the basis of these factors and descriptions that cyber security teams can make a normal interaction model. In this model, all requests made to the software by visitors, customers, and others as well as bots are compared. If there is an instance of bogus requests outnumbering legitimate requests, then there is a problem with the activities of bots.

Is there any example or instance of such?

A financial services company based in Charlotte with offices in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil detected suspicious requests in its online banking system and application. The normal flow of requests was at 700 per second which shot up to 30,000 per second.

The sources weren’t uniform. The first 200 came from various sources and addresses, and each of them received the Error 401 message. This indicated that legitimate users were being denied access to these resources.

The main suspect turned out to be a DDoS attack. The requests that were fake were blocked. Thankfully the company maintained ownership of their app and online banking system. However, some legitimate requests were blocked out too because the bank’s tech partners were partially at fault for being too lax. A notice for downtime was issued later.

Services were eventually restored and the attack was countered. However, it did leave some legitimate users out of the loop. It also affected customers in some Latin American markets too.

What does this situation explain?

The situation explains that the app was owned and operated by the bank. However, it had a separate and different technology partner for different countries when it came to running the app and online banking services.
The tech partners were able to detect the DDoS attack but their reaction was slow. The main head office had to do all the work. The attacks were detected in the USA, Canada, Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina. The response of Argentine and Jamaican tech partners was quite slow.

Real vs bogus visitors and bots – an overview

Real and legitimate visitors do not send multiple requests from the same server and location. They also do not use multiple devices for accessing fintech apps and online financial services (usually limit device array to three devices at least).

They use a few trusted devices that have the apps and are registered with their banks. These are the devices they use in case authorization is needed for use from another device.

If a customer believes they are being scammed or are facing an account lockout, they must contact their bank immediately. They can help them secure their accounts immediately.

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