How can businesses stay online under the threat of surging DDoS attacks?

13 Aug 2019

Aidan D’Arcy, director, Virgin Media Business. Image: Luke Maxwell/

With DDoS attacks on the rise, Virgin Media has announced an anti-DDoS product to help online businesses filter good traffic from bad.

“Thousands and thousands of DDoS attacks happen every day,” said Aidan D’Arcy, director of Virgin Media Business, when he sat down to discuss a new internet security product to protect against these attacks.

Last year, we reported a surge in the frequency of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks according to research from Corero Network Security, which has also cited the number of daily attacks as being in the tens of thousands.

With these attacks already great in frequency – and growing – D’Arcy explained how Virgin Media will leverage its network knowledge to protect against them.

Tapping into its broad data network, Virgin Media Business can analyse the traffic profile of an average day on the internet across Europe and the US, and use this to spot the alarm bells signalled by irregularities.

“What our DDoS servers can do is identify illegitimate traffic – DDoS threat traffic – and put that to one side and keep business’s internet services operating on a business-as-usual basis,” D’Arcy explained.

Keeping up appearances

Denial-of-service attacks flood targets with malicious traffic, overloading their systems and preventing legitimate requests from getting through.

The biggest impact of such an attack can be reputational damage. “If your business goes offline, that has a significant impact to your reputation. It is seen that your services are not available, which makes it look like your business is not set up to run correctly,” said D’Arcy.

The fear of succumbing to an attack is so great that attackers can exploit business owners with the mere threat of an attack or even hold a business to ransom under a sustained attack.

Making things more difficult is the fact that these threats are “becoming more and more intelligent”, according to D’Arcy. What used to be a single-source attack has now evolved into attacks that start from multiple sources. “So, when you think you’ve got one source of your attack nailed down, there’s several other sources coming at you.”

How anti-DDoS works

The anti-DDoS product from Virgin Media Business is a plug-and-play device that can be set up to protect all connected devices. Once activated, the in-built system will begin scanning the data stream for anomalies. In the event an attack is detected, the data stream is diverted by the threat management system, keeping malicious traffic out and letting legitimate traffic in.

As well as helping businesses to “proactively identify all the different sources” of these attacks, an anti-DDoS portal can provide reports and information on attacks in order to guide clients towards next steps for protection.

“You can be informed of what’s happening, how you’re being targeted and you can take further steps beyond that to mitigate against it like changing your IP addresses, for instance, changing how your business operates, changing how your digital landscape looks,” said D’Arcy.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.