This month’s DDoS attacks on SIP infrastructure in the VoIP community should give us all pause to reflect upon what each of us can do to lessen the impact of these attacks in our Internet-centric community. Suffice it to say, DDoS attacks can be directed toward carriers (last week it was Bandwidth.com), VoIP providers (last week it was VoIP.ms), and VoIP servers (that would be your PBX). While they may not like it, carriers and many VoIP providers have the financial resources to withstand or mitigate a DDoS attack. You, on the other hand, with your budget-basement cloud server probably do not. So what can you do?
Almost 10 years ago, we introduced the Travelin’ Man 3 firewall for VoIP servers. The idea was novel at the time. You can’t attack what you can’t see. By placing an Incredible PBX server behind the IPtables firewall with no public exposure except for trusted sites and users, your server is essentially hidden from the Internet and all of the world’s bad guys. At the time, the design was poo-poo’d by the SIP purists who were adamant that SIP ports needed to be publicly exposed to function reliably. Wrong. Then there was the FreePBX® firewall which blocked repeated attacks from the IP address of a would-be attacker. But what if a botnet unleashed hundreds of thousands of attacks on your IP address. The FreePBX blocking mechanism obviously would fail. One of the shortcomings of Asterisk®: it isn’t a SIP proxy.
The moral of the story is pretty simple. Unless you have an unlimited bank account to thwart DDoS attacks and unless your PBX is sitting behind a SIP proxy, you’re much safer with a fully-protected Incredible PBX platform. And, for those believing your IP address is too obscure to attract much attention, try installing a server on CloudAtCost, or Digital Ocean, or Vultr without a firewall to protect your SSH port. You’ll quickly discover how popular you are. Stay safe!
Originally published: Monday, September 27, 2021
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