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August 23, 2010

Network Monitoring and Analysis Tool Fends Off DoS Attacks

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users.

And, though the means to carry out a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person or people to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely.

Hence, every network engineer dreads this event because its impact can wreak havoc on the local network. Therefore, network monitoring and network security are critical for timely identification and resolution. 

For a VoIP business phone solutions and services provider Reveal Systems, the DoS attacks were all too frequent occurrences. “We have a far-flung network that serves a lot of small businesses. We were experiencing DoS attacks every few months,” said vice president Network Services, Joe Yandrofski. He added, “The attacks were crippling the network, creating a drain on engineering resources and resulting in lost productivity and frustration for internal network users.” 

Consequently, the company’s vice president began to look for a network traffic monitoring and analysis tool that would give him the capability to preemptively identify DoS attacks on the company’s network in 2008.  After evaluating several products, the company selected Plixer International’s network monitoring and analysis tool Scrutinizer.

Yandrofski said “Scrutinizer was recommended to me by a colleague. I downloaded the free version and evaluated the product for an extended period before purchasing it. One thing Scrutinizer offers that I didn’t find in other products is the ability to identify a high volume of small packets. Spikes in packet count can be a precursor to a DoS attack.”

Scrutinizer functionality was not the only factor for selection. “My decision to buy was due, in no small part, to the sales group who was very responsive and helpful in answering all my questions,” asserted Yandrofski.

According to Reveal Systems, the network monitoring and analysis software has proven to be an invaluable tool for the compay’s IT group.  As a result, the company is able to see suspicious traffic on the network every few weeks. Without Scrutinizer, it would be virtually impossible to identify the source and resolve problems, said Reveal Systems.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda