Just as the military performs exercises ahead of ever reaching the battlefield, so do cyber security professionals. Built to handle more than 35TB of data at peak times, Netflix is not a likely target of a typical DDoS attack. But, it still needed to look at potential areas of vulnerability. By finding an uncommon way to bring down its network, the company was able to better prepare its defense. Additionally, this also created a good example for others to follow.
Key to Netflix strategy was a focus on prevention. The company zeroed in on its API gateway, which is the intersection between the internet and a host of services. By stepping up its monitoring of middle-tier and backend service traffic, it could better understand behavior patterns.
Netflix then ran a fake attack during what the company terms “Chaos Kong,” a moment in time where engineers send customer traffic through a detour in order to experiment with a real-world sandbox. In addition, this process enables Netflix to ensure that it can still offer services to customers in a region of the world where a server may have gone down. A “Chaos Kong” situation means that traffic from a given region is fully rerouted, ideally without any disruption on the customer side.
The Netflix app security team intends to stay ahead of hackers. Preempting a potential DDoS attack, however small, might represent the difference between business growth and business decline.
Another means of avoiding DDoS attacks includes monitoring the middle-tier and backend service traffic and behavior of systems. This allows operators greater visibility and analytics info around subtle potential threats. Although many organizations don’t bother monitoring traffic far down the stack, understanding these behavioral patterns enables servers to distinguish authentic traffic from malicious requests. Therefore, systems will be able to prioritize actual requests.
Netflix Cyber Security Prevention
Netflix security engineer, Scott Behrens, calls security a ‘cat and mouse’ game. He asserts that Netflix wants to make testing more sophisticated. In turn, this will allow the company to create stronger cyber defenses.
Cyber attacks have only picked up steam in recent months. However, testing security can help organizations sidestep hacker havoc. For additional information about Netflix, Netflix DDoS experiments and more, click here.