Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) serve as the digital gateways to nations, embodying trust and reliability in the online world. When ccTLD operators seek to enhance their digital presence and protect assets, they rely on experienced partners who grasp their unique challenges.
ccTLDs registry operators often come to ClouDNS in search of strategic solutions to cost-effectively manage their digital operations in a complex environment. Their goal is to optimize server management investments, ensuring reliability and efficiency in their online presence.They also approach us when facing intense cyber threats, struggling to respond effectively.
At its core, we specialize in addressing the pressing needs of ccTLDs. With a wealth of experience in solving similar cases, we offer tailored solutions to our clients. In this case study, we'll explore the journey of protecting ccTLD, marked by challenges and objectives that our solutions successfully addressed.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are not just a single-point problem but represent a multi-faceted challenge for ccTLD operators. The attacks are typically designed to make a network service unavailable, affecting the reputational and operational aspects of a ccTLD. These malicious threats have resulted in the complete disabling of all domains within their Top-Level Domain. This had a detrimental effect on both their internal systems and the digital infrastructure of their clients.
According to Statista, the .cn ccTLD ranks highest in registered domains as of July 2023, with a whopping 29.98 million domain names. Yet, its popularity comes at a cost; it ranks 4th in cybercrime incidents with 8,351 cases, according to Netcraft. In 2013, it was the target of the largest DDoS attack against a .cn ccTLD, as reported by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
Note: Other ccTLDs like .in, .id, .cc, .tr, .pk, .th, and .mk have also been targets of DDoS attacks, based on information from Netcraft. High-profile ccTLDs such as .tk, .de, .uk, .nl, and .br are also at risk due to their sheer number of registered domains.
In addition to the pressing issue of DDoS attacks, many ccTLD registry operators face common challenges in the form of unreliability and insecurity in their existing systems. These issues manifest as unplanned outages, sluggish DNS resolution, and periods of inaccessibility, all of which have a detrimental impact on customer satisfaction and can lead to contractual penalties.
Another prevalent challenge is the ability to maintain and upgrade their DNS infrastructure. Many ccTLD operators struggle with scaling their systems to meet growing demands, while others face budget constraints that prevent them from covering the costs of maintaining, let alone enhancing, their DNS infrastructure.
These general challenges highlight the need for comprehensive solutions to fortify the digital domains of ccTLD registry operators.
DDoS Protection as a Multi-layer Strategy
Combating DDoS attacks is not just about absorbing the bad traffic; it's about intelligently distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate requests. Our DDoS protection measures are designed to scrutinize incoming traffic and filter out malicious requests, thereby ensuring that legitimate traffic is not affected. A standout feature was our impressive 10 Tbps protection capacity, underlining our commitment to safeguarding their digital presence.
Redundancy with Secondary DNS
As an added layer of protection, a Secondary DNS serves as a failover solution. This not only adds redundancy but also ensures that even if one layer is compromised, the system can still function via its backup.
Anycast DNS Networks
Our Anycast DNS networks are globally distributed, ensuring optimal speed and reliability. By utilizing more than 45 Points of Presence (PoPs), we can strategically route traffic to the nearest location, thereby minimizing latency and maximizing speed.
For ccTLDs, a locally-placed PoP within their operational country provides a dual advantage - enhanced speed for local users and an added layer of security. This is in line with the best practices recommended by the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
Note: "From a TLD operator’s perspective, the current best practice to mitigate against large-scale DDoS attacks is to utilize multiple globally distributed DNS anycast providers. For ccTLDs, it is a best practice to implement local anycast as close as possible to the country’s users"
Transitioning from the covering of typical ccTLD challenges and solutions, we're now ready to introduce two client cases where they sought our help.
Our first client, an established domain registry since 2001, faced severe issues as their legacy systems couldn't fend off modern threats. This led to revenue losses and reputation damage. They urgently sought a solution.
Yordan Minkov, our Technical Support Manager, succinctly noted: "When they approached us, the challenges they faced were obvious. Given our years of experience in this field and our track record of solving similar cases, we immediately understood what the client needed."
After a thorough audit, we rolled out a holistic security strategy, combining DDoS protection, Secondary DNS layers, and dedicated Anycast DNS resources. The results were compelling: zero downtime, enhanced security, faster and more reliable services, and cost savings, all thanks to our multi-layered security and global PoPs.
Our next customer is a ccTLD registry operating in a smaller country, functioning as an essential part of the nation's digital infrastructure. However, increasing cyber threats and operational challenges prompted them to seek a comprehensive solution.
From the words of our Sales agent, Ekaterina Trancheva:
"When Client 2 approached us, they already had an offer and information from another global DNS hosting and CDN provider. The competitor could handle 7 times less volume of traffic compared to us. And that was the key in deciding whether they would continue with us."
We conducted a thorough risk assessment and provided custom-branded DDoS protected Anycast DNS service, secondary DNS for easy synchronization, and strategically placed Points of Presence in their country. Results: Effective DDoS attack mitigation, regaining customer trust, improved service reliability, and speed optimization through our global PoPs.