The Dangers of DDoS Attacks That Leverage WSD Protocol

August 2020

If you stay on top of online security news, you’ve already heard about distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and the impact they can have on a server. However, what you may not be aware of is a new type of DDoS attack that is sweeping the web and leaving destruction in its path. These WS-Discovery-based (WSD) protocol attacks were discovered by researchers back in May of 2019, and have become a growing problem ever since.

If you have a website or rely on a server to maintain sensitive information, it’s important to understand what WSD protocol attacks are and how they work. From there, you can take the measures needed to protect yourself.

Understanding WSD Protocol Attacks

Many network devices use something called WS-Discovery protocol, which allows devices to connect to each other automatically. When used for its intended purpose, WSD is useful and harmless. However, when hackers discovered that this protocol could be used to amplify the strength of DDoS attacks, a significant problem emerged.

The Dangers of WSD Protocol Attacks

There have been numerous instances of widespread WSD protocol attacks in the past several months, including one massive incident that caused Wikipedia to crash. The attack, which was amplified by WSD protocol, took down European and Middle Eastern pages for several hours.

When a hacker uses WSD to intensify a DDoS attack, the ensuing damage can be very difficult to stop. In fact, responses for a WSD protocol attack can be anywhere from seven to 153 times larger than that of a traditional DDoS attack. As a result, affected servers are facing longer periods of downtime – which, as you might imagine, results in greater financial devastation.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Website

Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee that your server will never be affected by a DDoS attack, let alone one that uses WSD. However, there are plenty of steps you can take to mitigate your risks and protect sensitive information.

Begin by making sure you’re hosting your information on the most secure type of server available: a dedicated server. These servers provide the highest level of both physical and digital security possible, especially when compared to other options like shared and cloud hosting.

From there, be sure to follow proper measures and recommendations to keep your server as secure as possible. This includes making regular back-ups of your important data and being on the lookout for any signs of an attempted DDoS attack. Finally, you should log into your hosting account and block port 3702 from traffic, as this is the port used to carry out WSD protocol attacks.

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