A wave of ransom Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) assaults have lately targeted VoIP providers worldwide. This issue continues to grow throughout many industries, giving the impression that no business is safe.
In recent weeks, massive DDoS attacks have crippled at least five Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) companies in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. These attacks have caused serious ramifications for their clients, both resellers and end-users.
The attacks resulted from outages or impairment of incoming and outgoing voice calls and SMS services, portal and portal API timeouts, and periodic loss of Internet connectivity. The problems lingered for days in some cases while the affected providers sought to deal with the attacks.
With DDoS extortion cyberattacks on the rise, experts predict the attacks will continue in the following weeks and months, targeting other providers.
With that, this article will discuss how VoIP services thrive in the face of DDoS Attacks.
What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a relatively new technology that quickly gains traction as a replacement for the existing Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). VoIP is a broad word that encompasses many applications, including hard phones, softphones, proxy servers, Instant Messaging clients, and peer-to-peer clients.
These applications make use of a wide range of proprietary and open protocols that rely extensively on the architecture and services of an existing data network. As a result, VoIP security is as broad a topic as the variety of devices and apps utilized in an organization’s VoIP environment.
It is common knowledge that proportionate risks accompany the advantages of electronic communication. Critical corporate systems can and do get hacked and utilized for unlawful reasons daily. Long story short, VoIP systems continually get subjected to attacks that might result in significant losses.
What are DDoS Attacks?
A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is a malicious endeavor to disrupt a targeted server’s, service’s, or network’s normal traffic by flooding the target or its surrounding infrastructure with Internet traffic.
DDoS attacks effectively use numerous compromised computer systems as attack traffic sources. Computers and other networked resources, such as IoT devices, are examples of exploited machines.
A DDoS attack is analogous to unanticipated traffic congestion obstructing the roadway, preventing ordinary traffic from reaching its destination.
Suddenly becoming slow or unavailable, a site or service is the most visible indicator of a DDoS attack. However, further analysis is usually required because various factors, such as a legitimate traffic spike, can produce similar performance concerns. Some of these warning signals of a DDoS assault can be detected using the following traffic analytics tools:
- Unusual traffic volumes come from a single IP address or a group of IP addresses.
- There is a surge in traffic from users with similar behavioral profiles, such as device type, geolocation, or web browser version.
- Unexpectedly high demand for a particular page or destination.
- Unusual traffic patterns, such as spikes at unique times of day or practices that appear to be abnormal.
How DDoS Attacks Affect VoIP
DDoS assaults target the availability goals of computer security. Availability refers to whether a site or application is available and a person or program can access the site’s pages, data, or services when needed. Load-balancing hardware and software, for example, can help ensure availability.
To remove availability, an attacker uses a tool to transmit packets to the target system in a typical network-based denial of service assault. The goal of these packets is to disable or overwhelm the target machine, forcing a reboot. The source address of these packets frequently gets faked, making it difficult to pinpoint the attack’s true origin.
Although a single attacker may be involved in a DDoS attack, the impact of the attack gets amplified considerably by the deployment of attack servers known as “agents.” Essentially, the hacker has remote control over these agents.
Distributed Denial-of-Service assaults rely on getting the DDoS client to operate on a wide variety of machines. The most common approach is to disguise it as a “Trojan horse,” a secretly hidden harmful application that naïve, unsuspecting users run.
It is difficult to stop a DDoS attack once it has started. Although you may prevent packets from arriving at firewalls, they also have the potential to overwhelm the incoming side of the Internet connection. If the source addresses of these packets have not gotten faked, the relevant parties should be tracked down and asked to stop the agents. If the addresses get falsified, there is no way of knowing if they correspond to the genuine source of the assault unless you track down some of the suspected attackers.
VoIP technology relies on a robust and steady internet connection to function properly and provide fast and dependable service. Any loss of network capacity can wreak havoc on performance and expose an organization to DDoS attacks on VoIP. In addition, for any speech or video-based technology, latency and jitter are common connection difficulties. These problems can significantly influence the user’s experience and call quality.
Each message sent over the internet, via email, video, or audio, is broken down into small pieces that are reassembled at their destination to form the original message or a stream of data. Latency and jitter occur when packets encounter delays, are lost, or are not properly reassembled. A bad internet connection with limited capacity is one of the main reasons for latency and jitter. And with latency and jitter in place, DDoS assaults on VoIP are a great technique to overburden your network’s bandwidth.
Ultimately, DDoS attacks can wreak havoc on any IP-based network service. In the end, a DDoS assault can cause anything from minor service disruption to catastrophic service loss.
DDoS attacks have shown the devastation they can do to VoIP systems thus far. These attacks will almost certainly persist, if not evolve, in the future.
To maintain capacity and decrease load and latency on their networks, providers need effective DDoS protection to assure speed, performance, and reliability while guarding against DDoS attacks on VoIP.