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Distributed denial of service attacks pose a serious threat to many businesses which rely on constant availability of their network services. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Amazon are completely reliant on the Internet for their business. It is very hard to defend against these attacks because of the many different ways in which hackers may strike. Distinguishing between legitimate and malicious traffic is a complex task. Setting up filtering by hand is often impossible due to the large number of hosts involved in the attack. The goal of this paper is to explore the effectiveness of machine learning techniques in developing automatic defences against DDoS attacks. As a first step, a data collection and traffic filtering framework is developed. This foundation is then used to explore the potential of artificial neural networks in the defence against DDoS attacks.