Mitigation

Deflect protects your website from a multitude of cyber attacks, including distributed denial of service (DDoS), brute force attacks against your login password, connection hijacking and much else. To achieve this level of protection we employ sensitive monitoring tools and various mitigation methods.

  • Banjax is responsible for early stage filtering, challenging and banning of bots, identified via regular expression (regex) matching, in conjunction with the Swabber module.
  • Swabber is a daemon for banning and unbanning IP addresses.
  • Edgemanage monitors Deflect edges health and rotates them in and out of our clients’ DNS records.
  • Opsdash is an ElasticSearch cluster where the majority of Deflect’s traffic data is stored and queried.
  • Baskerville is a network traffic anomaly detector, for use in identifying and characterising malicious IP behaviour.

We’ve developed and pieced together these tools in order for our clients and the Deflect network to be resilient to any type of brute force attacks. They also help us gather, store and analyze information on attacks and attachers, building historical profiles and improving behaviour analysis of network traffic.

Herein we describe, in brief, how the Deflect network can be resilient to web attacks and how users can secure their own website behind Deflect.

  • Deflect infrastructure
  • Monitoring
  • Authentication
  • Challenger

Deflect infrastructure

Deflect is built on decentralization, with rented infrastructure in dozens of datacenters around the world. This approach offers flexibility and avoids central points of failure. Over the years we have worked with many providers and select the best among them by hardware specifications and network access, as well as their internal operating policies. We are keen to reduce the carbon footprint of our infrastructure and are continuously looking for datacenters powered by sustainable energy sources.

Due to our dynamic infrastructure model, we provision all machines with filesystem-level encryption.

Provider HQ Country Datacenters Countries
Hetzner Germany FSN1-DC10, FSN1-DC6 Germany
Limestone U.S.A. L.A., Dallas U.S.A.
OneProvider Canada Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, London, New York Germany, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.A.
OVH France ERI1 U.K.
SeFlow Italy Milan Italy
SoYouStart France BHS2, ERI1, RBX4, RBX2 France, U.K., Canada
Veeble Netherlands NL, U.K. Netherlands, U.K.

Monitoring

At its core, the Deflect network is capable of logging information about any and all aspects of web traffic destined for our clients’ websites (this includes traffic over SSL). This means that for each visitor accessing the Deflect network it is possible to record or otherwise ascertain:

  • Site accessed
  • Browser user agent
  • Deflect server queried
  • Time of request
  • Response code to the request
  • Cache status of the request
  • IP address, ASN of the requester
  • User device

This information is fed into Opsdash and Baskerville. It allows our clients to see traffic statistics in their dashboard profile, including detailed information on legitimate and banned requests.

Authentication

When your website is behind Deflect, requests for a new page will come from our caching servers. This means that they may be several minutes old and may not have the very latest updates. This is not ideal for when you are editing the website and need to see updates immediately. Deflect provides a special way to authenticate yourself to the system and access your website without caching. We call this Banjax authentication. After you have created the password in the Dashboard, the login page to your website (e.g. /wp-admin, /login, /administrator, etc.) will appear like this:

Banjax Authentication

Banjax Authentication

Only those in possession of the authentication password will be able to proceed. This has an extra side effect of protecting your website’s editorial login from password brute-force attacks.

Challenger

When a DDoS attack is not automatically mitigated by Deflect rules and begins to have a negative impact on your server, you can enable the Challenger filter. It will help Deflect distinguish between real website readers (who are using a web browser) from automated bots. Challenger does this by serving everyone who requests access to the website a mathematical challenge in JavaScript. The browser solves the challenge and sends back their reply. The bot cannot do this. When a challenge has been solved, Deflect returns a cookie to the reader’s browser. No further challenges are required from this reader for the next 24 hours.

_images/deflect_challenge.gif

Information for website readers

In order to successfully receive and process a challenge, your browser will need to have JavaScript enabled. If you are using a JavaScript blocker like e.g. “NoScript”, it will result in an error message telling you that JavaScript is blocked and should be enabled:

NoScript blocking JavaScript on the Black Lives Matter website

NoScript blocking JavaScript on the Black Lives Matter website

Information for Deflect clients

Challenger is a strong measure of defense. It will not only block all malicious traffic, but also legitimate traffic. This may result in website crawlers not being able to access your website. Use Challenger as a last resort. We have white listed the following crawlers and IPv4 address ranges to make sure websites behind the challenger can still be indexed:

# Google crawler

# PayPal IPN servers

# Facebook

# Testing

Website or crawler banned?

If the challenger filter blocks your website or crawler we can white list your IP address. Please submit a ticket to the Deflect team and provide the following information:

  • Name of your organization and a brief description of work
  • Link or IP address / ranges

If your request is legit we will add your website or crawler to the white list.

Banjax Challenger Code

Here’s a link to the code served by Challenger. It should only take a second or two for your computer or smartphone to solve the challenge.

For more information about BotnetDBP, Banjax, early stage filtering and challenging and banning of bots, you can navigate to this page