Intelligent CISO Issue 50 | Page 62



Columbia Wireless , an Internet Service Provider based in Canada , has addressed the problem of DDoS attacks by deploying Corero ’ s SmartWall DDoS Protection solution .

C olumbia Wireless is a high-speed Internet Service Provider ( ISP ) delivering connectivity throughout British Columbia , Canada .

The company experienced a Distributed Denial of Service ( DDoS ) attack that saturated its upstream provider links , effectively bringing down its network service for all customers for about one hour in the middle of a business day . The company had never experienced such an attack before and was caught completely off guard .
Columbia lost some large clients because of this and it earned it a bad reputation for low reliability . Customers even expressed that they thought the company didn ’ t know what it was doing , in the form of emailed responses to the impact of the DDoS attacks .
Following the first attack , Columbia Wireless lost approximately 25 % of its business . In addition , there was no way to measure how many prospective customers stayed away from the ISP because of word about the DDoS attacks and the service outages they created .
When the attacks occurred , the ISP ’ s only recourse was to use a timeconsuming , manual process to try and stop the impact . It had many users that were being impacted and struggled to find the one IP address that was being targeted . With no automated DDoS attack protection in place , this was a virtually impossible task .
Ben Leslie , CEO at Columbia Wireless
IT staff had to painstakingly scan its network connections looking for patterns that would indicate the particular IP address that was getting attacked the most . Once identified , they had to enable ‘ blackhole advertisements ’ of the IP address being attacked , notifying upstream carriers to stop all traffic to that destination .
“ That would stop the upstream carrier saturation , so the rest of our network would not lose Internet
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