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Data Center Network Security Threats and Solutions

Updated on Mar 26, 2022
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Data center security includes physical security and virtual security. Data center virtual security is actually data center network security,it refers to the various security precautions that are taken to maintain the operational agility of the infrastructure and data. Data center network security threats have become more and more rampant, and enterprises need to find countermeasures to protect sensitive information and prevent data vulnerabilities. We will discuss the data center cyber attacks and solutions.

What Are the Main Data Center Networking Threats?

Data center network is the most valuable and visible asset of storage organizations, while the data center networks, DNS, database, and email servers have become the number one target for cybercriminals, hacktivists, and state-sponsored attackers. Regardless of attackers' purpose and what they are seeking financial gain, competitive intelligence, or notoriety, they are using a range of cyber technology weapons to attack data centers. The following are 5 top data center network threats.

DDoS attack

Servers are prime targets of DDoS attack designed to disrupt and disable essential internet services. Service availability is critical to a positive customer experience. DDoS attacks, however, can directly threaten availability, resulting in loss of business revenue, customers, and reputation. From 2011 to 2013, the average size of DDoS attacks soared from 4.7 Gbps to 10 Gbps. What's worse, there has also been a staggering increase in the average number of packets per second during a typical DDoS attack. This proved that the rapid growth of DDoS attacks is enough to disable most standard network equipment. Attackers can amplify the scale and intensity of DDoS attacks primarily by exploiting Web, DNS, and NTP servers, which requires enterprises to do a good job of network monitoring at all times.

Web Application Attack

Web applications are vulnerable to a range of attacks, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, cross-site request forgery, etc. Attackers attempt to break into applications and steal data for profit, resulting in enterprises' data vulnerabilities. According to the 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report, approximately 98% of applications have or have had vulnerabilities. Attackers are increasingly targeting vulnerable web servers and installing malicious code to turn them into a DDoS attack source. Enterprises need proactive defenses to stop web attacks and "virtual patching" of data vulnerabilities.

DNS Attacks

DNS infrastructure is also vulnerable to DDoS attacks or other threats. It is turned into a target of data center cyber attacks for two reasons. First, attackers can prevent Internet users from accessing the Internet by taking DNS servers offline through a variety of means. If an attacker disables DNS servers of ISP, they can block everything the ISP does to users and Internet services. Second, attackers can also amplify DDoS attacks by exploiting DNS servers. Attackers spoof the IP addresses of their real targets, instruct DNS servers to recursively query many DNS servers or send a flood of responses to victims. This allows the DNS server to directly control the victim's network of DNS traffic. Even if the DNS server is not the ultimate target for attackers, it still causes data center downtime and outages due to DNS reflection attacks.

SSL Blind Spot Exploitation

Many applications support SSL, however, it is surprising that SSL encryption is also a way that attackers can exploit for network intrusion. Although decrypt SSL traffic is decrypted by firewalls, intrusion prevention and threat prevention products, etc., there are some security implications for data vulnerabilities due to these products' inability to keep up with the growing demand for SSL encryption. For example, the conversion from 1024-bit to 2048-bit SSL keys requires about 6.3 times the processing power to decrypt. This case shows that security applications are gradually breaking down under the decryption requirements of increasing SSL certificate key lengths. For this reason, attackers can easily exploit this defense blind spot for intrusion.

Authentication Attacks

Applications often use authentication to authenticate users, allowing application owners to restrict access to authorized users. But for convenience, many people perform a single authentication. This makes it easy for attackers to use password cracking tools to brute force. Hackers will crack lists of stolen passwords, and even password hashes, and use them to break into other online accounts. As a result, enterprises centrally manage authentication services and prevent users from repeating failed login attempts.

Data Center Virtual Security Solutions

Network security defenses in the data center are imperative. In view of the data vulnerabilities and network security risks caused by the five major data center network security threats, here are some defense solutions.

  • Prevent vulnerabilities: Deploy IPS to protect and patch frequently vulnerable systems and applications. IPS can also detect exploits targeting DNS infrastructure or attempts to use DNS to evade security protections.

  • Network segmentation: Network segmentation implemented effectively enables preventing lateral movement and achieves least privilege access under a zero-trust security model.

  • Deploying application and API protection: The solution to mitigate the OWASP top 10 risks for web applications is to use web and API security applications. Also, data centers can install firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS), to help businesses monitor and traffic inspect before it reaches the internal network.

  • Defense against DDoS: Use on-prem and cloud DDoS protections to mitigate DDoS threats.

  • Prevent credential theft: Deploy anti-phishing protection for users to prevent credential theft attacks.

  • Securing supply chains: Detect and prevent sophisticated supply chain attacks using AI and ML-backed threat prevention, as well as EDR and XDR technologies.

Conclusion

Cyberattacks also have a profound impact on data center network security. Enterprises should prepare defense solutions for data centers to ensure data security. The best practices above can also help enterprises gain relevant information about how their data center networks are operating, allowing the IT team to enhance the virtual security of their data centers while maintaining physical security.

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