Middleboxes for DDoS Attacks – How Do They Work?

August 2023

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have been a well-known security threat for years – but in recent years, the size and scope of these attacks have increased many times over. Today, DDoS attacks are one of the most widespread threats on the Internet. And unfortunately, the effects of these attacks are becoming even more devastating as hackers begin utilizing a new strategy to maximize their impact.

Specifically, hackers use middleboxes to amplify their attacks. By understanding this growing threat and what it entails, you can take the steps needed to avoid becoming a victim.

What Are Middleboxes for DDoS Attacks?

With a “traditional” DDoS attack, hackers flood a packet with traffic from multiple sources, with the ultimate goal being of overwhelming a server. Now, however, hackers realize that they can maximize the impact of their attacks by using an amplification strategy known as a middlebox.

So, what are middleboxes? These refer to in-network devices that communicate between end hosts; when an attack is carried out using a middlebox, hackers spoof the target’s IP address to overwhelm the server further.

Dangers of Middleboxes for DDoS Attacks

The biggest problem with this new DDoS strategy is that middleboxes can be weaponized for massive DDoS attacks. One report found that a DDoS attack using middleboxes could achieve volumes of traffic up to 11Gbps at 1.5 million packets per second.

Another problem is that there are already hundreds of thousands of vulnerable middlebox systems across the globe. And now that hackers are aware that they can use these middleboxes to carry out powerful DDoS attacks, this attack strategy is more likely to become widespread.

Preventing and Mitigating Attacks

So, what are some of the best strategies for middlebox attack prevention? Having built-in DDoS protection in place on a dedicated server or other server host is generally your best bet to keep your data safe. Specifically, DDoS protection works by “filtering” traffic as it comes in and stopping or denying any traffic that is found to be suspicious. This can protect a server from becoming overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, as these middlebox attacks become more widespread, there is still no guarantee of safety – even for those with DDoS protection. DDoS protection methods are struggling to keep up with the growing size and severity of today’s DDoS attacks.

The Bottom Line: Get a Dedicated Server

While there may not be a surefire way to keep your site safe from becoming the victim of a DDoS attack, having a dedicated hosting plan with robust DDoS protection in place is still your best bet for keeping your information safe. ReliableSite is proud to offer a wide range of hosting plans with free standard DDoS protection. Get in touch with our knowledgeable team today, and we’d be happy to help you select the right plan for you!