With the increasing prevalence of large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on websites around the globe, employing durable DDoS protection that can withstand these potentially debilitating attacks is of paramount importance. But, how do you know that your defensive measures will actually be useful in a real-world situation? The answer is simple: Utilize an IP booter service to simulate the attack and see if your protective software does its job as advertised.
Of course, selecting the best IP stresser (another name for a booter) is a task that is easier said than done given the wide variety of products and services available on the web at a multitude of different price points. Booters come in all different shapes and sizes, and choosing the best one for your needs can be a time-consuming task. That's why we've compiled this special report just for you to help you find the perfect stresser for your digital needs.
- The Basics of DDoS Attacks -
Before we dive into the minutiae of choosing from among the best booters on the market, we need first to dissect how a DDoS attack works. Firstly, the motivations behind DDoS attacks are as varied as can be, but they all share one principle in common: To take down the target site and prevent other (legitimate) users from accessing its resources.
This denial of service is accomplished through the use of unique software that floods the targeted machine with web requests, thus forcing the target to allocate resources away from legitimate claims and traffic. Consequently, other users trying to access the target will experience exceedingly slow performance or error messages. Often, the server will become overloaded and crash if it is not properly optimized to deal with high-stress and high-load network conditions.
Although DDoS attacks can take various forms, they are typically executed from an internal or external attack vector. An internal attack vector usually takes the form of malware which consumes the physical hardware resources of the service equipment, thus making it slow, unreliable, and incapable of providing a timely response to any inbound external requests from legitimate traffic and users. An external attack vector takes the form of unwanted traffic generated either through a distributed array of networked machines (also known as a botnet) or through actual human beings (such as with a program like LOIC).
For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on the external attack family. Protecting your servers from internal attacks will require the use of anti-malware software that is beyond the scope of this tutorial. Instead, we are going to focus on the kinds of different stress testing solutions available to you on the web today, and how to select the right one for your individual and unique network needs.
-A Primer on DDoS Protection Services -
With the advent of DDoS attacks on sites on the web, numerous service providers sprouted up to provide protection and threat mitigation services for their clients in order to help them protect their digital properties from these types of attacks.
One option is to utilize a primary firewall handling system in order to block incoming requests from a range of suspect IP addresses. Obviously, this solution is relatively basic and unlikely to be efficacious in more complicated attack scenarios. Additionally, firewalls may not be at the right network layer in order to intercept this kind of malicious traffic.
Other options include using physical hardware switches that have built-in rate limiting features, industrial grade hardware routers, application specific front end hardware tech, ASIC-based intrusion prevention systems, and more
One of the most popular DDoS protection services is provided by CloudFare, a content delivery network and DNS system that acts as a kind of proxy (more specifically, a reverse proxy) between your server hardware and inbound traffic. Along with its standard CDN and DNS services, CloudFlare also provides a high-tech solution for protecting your network and server resources from DDoS attacks by leveraging a globally distributed data center network that can disperse and route attack packets from the origin points of the attack. You might think of services such as CloudFlare as a distributed safeguard against a distributed attack.
Now that you have a good understanding of the mechanics of a DDoS attacks and the various means of defending against them, let's take a look at how an IP stresser can be used to put your defenses to the test in a highly realistic simulation of a real world distributed denial of service attack on your server resources.
- The Importance of Utilizing an IP Booter -
This is where an IP stresser comes into play. In order to determine whether or not your defensive measures will be productive throughout a real-world attack on your server resources, you're doing to want to test those protections out for yourself in a controlled environment.
To help you accomplish this controlled testing experiment, many companies around the world provide IP booting services to act as though they are a real-world DDoS attack on your network. By analyzing how your protections respond to this simulated trial, you will be able to see for yourself if your current DDoS protections are adequate.
After all, the worst thing you could do is wait until your network is already under attack to evaluate the effectiveness of your DDoS mitigation solution. That is a recipe for disaster that we want to help you avoid.
Next, let's examine how you can select the ideal IP booster for your hardware and software configuration. Keep in mind the points we touched on above when you go to choose a particular product. Depending on your unique configuration, certain products may be better than others.
It is also important to note that you should never conduct a stress test during normal operations of your server resources, as this testing process may prevent legitimate traffic from reaching your site Always do tests of your DDoS protection after having given prior warning to your regular users or during times of the day (such as late night or early morning) when legitimate traffic is at an absolute minimum.
- Finding the Best Stressers on the Market Today -
There is a vast variety of different stress tools that are available on the market today. They each have different capacities, strengths, and weaknesses, thus necessitating an in-depth guide to selecting the best one for your testing needs.
What kinds of attributes should you look for in the IP stressers you are considering using? To answer this question, we first need to identify the common features shared among first-rate booters and see which ones are optimal for your specific use case.
Here are some questions you should ask before investing in any IP booting service:
- What is the maximum (and minimum) traffic throughput for this service? -
To best give your DDoS protections a run for their money, you're going to want to throw as much traffic as possible at them. So, you're going to want to ask how many gigabytes per second (GB/s) your testing service is available to achieve, and at what price point it can produce those results. Services that are worth the money will typically be able to push into the high end of the hundreds of GB/s range at an efficient price level.
- Does this service provide multiple forms of simulated attacks on different layers? -
Since DDoS attacks can occur on multiple layers, it is important to evaluate if a given stresser is capable of simulating these varied types of attacks. At a minimum, you'll want to make sure that a given booter is capable of simulating attacks on Layer 4 and Layer 7, and that it can run multiple types of scripts (such as SYN or RUDY) on these layers. If your candidate service cannot execute attacks in this way, then you may want to look elsewhere.
- Does this service have sufficient technical resources for long-term, large-scale simulated attacks? -
You're also going to want to make sure that the IP booter you're looking at is capable of handling an intense traffic output over your testing time frame. At a bare minimum, the service will need dedicated servers that are souped up and capable of handling the kinds of intense demands you will subject it to throughout the testing process.
- Does this service utilize any form of attack amplification? -
On Layer 4 and Layer 7 DDoS attacks, there are numerous amplification methods that can be utilized, including SSDP amplification, NTP amplification, and DNS amplification. The key point here is that you want to simulate in the most realistic way possible a real-world attack on your infrastructure. The more amplification tools that are provided, the better off you will be when you go to accurately assess the effectiveness of your defenses.
- Is the user interface clear, clean, and concise? -
An excellent user interface is important for a vast number of reasons, particularly when you're dealing with a numbers-intensive program like an IP stresser. The best booters will have user interfaces that are geared towards efficiency and accessibility for new users. In general, you'll want to take a close look at any screen shots that the company makes available on their sales pages. Furthermore, you may want to push for a demo to see how the interface looks and works for you prior to making a purchase decision.
- What kind of support does the company provide? -
The best stressers on the market are going to provide you with customer service that is second to none. To test out how efficient a given company will be in providing you with top-notch support, we recommend that you reach out to them via email to see how lengthy it takes to get a response, and if that response provides detailed, pertinent information about your query or request for information. Using this method, you'll be able to get a rough approximation of how well the company is taking care of their potential and existing customers.
- What is the boot time for this service? -
A slow boot time can drastically impede the ability for you to complete your DDoS protection testing in a timely fashion. The best booters on the market are going to be able to spin up and execute their attacks quickly and efficiently. Be sure to see if the company provides any guarantees about boot time in this regard.
- How many concurrent attacks can this service launch? -
The ability for a given IP stresser to launch numerous concurrent attacks on your defenses is a great way to see how well your systems can handle the load over long durations. You are going to want to see how many concurrent connections your prospective IP booter can handle, and at what price point that functionality is available to you. The best ones will be able to scale and handle multiple attacks simultaneously.
- Does this service provide any resolver functionality? -
Another important feature of IP stressers is the ability for them to navigate around defensive mechanisms. The best booters on the web will be able to resolve domain names and HTTP resource names for websites that are protected by distributed services such as CloudFlare. This functionality can be a great way to see how well your distributed protection service (such as CloudFlare) can handle attacks that attempt to resolve domain names.
- Where to Go from Here -
Let's recap what we have covered here today. Firstly, you learned about how DDoS attacks work, and some of the common features shared among their different forms. Then, we took a quick look at the different preventative mechanisms that are currently available on the market. Thirdly, we examined then the necessity of an IP booter, and how to choose the best one for your needs by asking a number of important questions.
The next step for you is to do your research and due diligence in order to choose an IP stresser that is best suited for both your digital and budgetary needs. There are plenty of booters on the market, and you're bound to find one that meets both your budget and your unique use case.