Microsoft has confirmed that it is dealing with an ongoing Skype outage that may be caused by a DDoS attack. The company says its communications app is suffering connectivity issues. While the problem does not affect all users, it is being reported as a global outage. IT security experts commented below.
Stephanie Weagle, VP at Corero Network Security:
“It’s clear that DDoS attacks continue to impact even the largest global organizations, including the recent confirmed attack against Skype. Continuing to rely on traditional IT security solutions, and/or human intervention to deal with the growing DDoS epidemic will continue to prove devastating to businesses. As recent events have confirmed once again, proactive, automated protection is required to keep the Internet-connected business available in the face of DDoS attacks.
“The bottom line is that DDoS attacks can take virtually any company offline – a reality that any business must be prepared to defend against. And it isn’t just the giant attacks that organizations need to worry about. Small, sub-saturating attacks, which most IT and network security wouldn’t even recognize as a DDoS attack are more common than not. In fact, the majority of DDoS attacks are less than five minutes in duration and under 1 Gbps – these shorter attacks typically evade detection by most legacy and homegrown DDoS mitigation solutions.”
Dr Malcolm Murphy, Technology Director at Infoblox:
“Every week another high profile DDoS attack hits the headlines. Whether used purely to disrupt organisations for reputation or monetary damage, or to hide other malicious activity occurring simultaneously on the network, organisations need to know how to identify and prevent DDoS attacks impacting their networks and services.
In order to have a hope of successfully combatting an extremely targeted DDoS attack companies need to be able to spot malicious traffic immediately. Despite the increasing amount of DDoS attacks it seems that very few businesses keep a regular check on DNS traffic or maintain detailed audit trails for DNS lookups. By recording and analysing statistics, administrators can examine their data for query rates, socket errors and other attack indicators, while distributing external authoritative name servers helps to avoid single points of failure.”
Andrew Bartlam, VP of EMEA at Instart logic:
“How should organisations best mitigate DDoS attacks?
Use a mature DDoS defence platform that is designed to cope with the level of attack you might expect. These services can be activated when needed to either absorb the load of an attack or scrub (clean) the traffic so only legitimate requests are allowed through. This kind of solution is akin to insurance for your website – after all, would you drive on the road without fully comprehensive insurance?
What steps can the industry make to lessen the risk of DDoS attacks?
This depends on the motivation behind a DDoS attack. For ransom demands there is little that can lessen the risk, but for ideologically motivated attacks, keeping a low profile around sensitive issues can make you less of a target.”