The digital landscape can be complex and intimidating for some in today’s world. One of the most common online threats is a DDoS attack — distributed denial of service. This attack has been around since the early days of the internet, but with the increased number of devices connected to it, it has become an even more significant threat. In this article, we will look at a DDoS attack and provide an example to help illustrate how they work. We will also discuss why they are so dangerous and how you can protect your business and website.
What is a DDoS attack?
A DDoS attack is a cyber attack in which a malicious actor seeks to disrupt regular traffic to a given site or server by overwhelming it with Internet traffic from multiple sources. This can be accomplished by using botnets, or networks of compromised computers, to send large volumes of spurious requests to the target site. The goal of a DDoS attack is typically to render a website or service inaccessible to users by overwhelming traffic from multiple sources. Attacks of this nature are usually motivated by political or ideological agendas and can cause significant financial damage and public relations problems for the companies or organizations targeted.
How do DDoS attacks work?
DDoS attacks work by flooding the target with requests for information, causing the server to become overloaded and unresponsive. The attacker will usually use a botnet, a network of infected computers that can be controlled remotely, to generate these requests. The attacker often targets high-profile websites or online services to cause maximum disruption.
Who is behind DDoS attacks?
There are many different types of DDoS attacks, but the most common ones involve flooding a target with requests for information. This can overload the target’s servers, making it difficult or impossible for legitimate users to access the site. Attackers can use various methods to generate these requests, including botnets and networks of infected computers that an attacker can control.
DDoS attacks often target high-profile websites or online services like banks, e-commerce sites, or news organizations. They can also target individuals, such as gaming enthusiasts or political activists. In some cases, DDoS attacks have been used as extortion, with attackers demanding payment from their targets to stop the attack.
What are the consequences of a DDoS attack?
Several consequences can occur as a result of a DDoS attack. These can include:
- Disruption to the target website or service
- Loss of revenue for the target
- Damage to the reputation of the target
- Increased costs for the target, in terms of both time and money
- In some cases, a DDoS attack can also lead to physical damage to the servers or other infrastructure involved. This is particularly true if the attack is large enough and sustained for an extended period.
How to prevent DDoS attacks?
There are many ways to prevent DDoS attacks, but the most effective is to have a layered approach that includes both on-premises and cloud-based solutions. Here are some tips:
- Use a network security appliance with intrusion prevention (IPS) or intrusion detection system (IDS). This will help identify and stop malicious traffic before it reaches your servers.
- Implement rate limiting at the network perimeter. This will ensure that legitimate traffic is not impacted by DDoS attack traffic.
- Use a web application firewall (WAF). This will help protect your web applications from DDoS attacks by filtering out malicious traffic before it reaches them.
- Implement DNS security measures. This includes ensuring that your DNS servers are correctly configured and using DNS firewalls to filter out malicious DNS traffic.
- Use a cloud-based DDoS protection service. This can provide an additional layer of protection for your website or application by absorbing and filtering out malicious traffic before it reaches your network.
How can you protect yourself from DDoS attacks?
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from DDoS attacks:
- Use a firewall: A firewall can help to block unwanted traffic from reaching your network.
- Keep your software up to date: Ensure you have the latest security patches installed on your systems to help prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities.
- Use anti-DDoS software: Anti-DDoS software can help to detect and respond to attacks, helping to protect your systems.
- Monitor your traffic: Keep an eye on your network traffic levels so you can spot unusual activity that could indicate an ongoing attack.
What are some standard DDoS attack methods?
There are four standard methods that attackers use to launch DDoS attacks:
- User Datagram Protocol (UDP) flooding – The attacker sends UDP packets to a target’s IP address to overwhelm the target’s system and cause it to crash.
- SYN flooding – The attacker sends a barrage of SYN requests to a target’s system to exhaust the number of available ports, preventing legitimate traffic from getting through and crashing the system.
- Ping of death – The attacker tries to overload a target’s system by sending malformed or oversized ICMP echo request (ping) packets.
- Slowloris – This attack keeps many connections open and sends very little data over time, eventually leading to resource starvation and a denial of service for other users.
What is some example of recent DDoS attacks?
There are many examples of recent DDoS attacks. Some notable ones include:
- The 2017 attack on KrebsOnSecurity, one of the world’s leading information security websites. This attack used around 620 Gbps of traffic and was one of the most significant DDoS attacks ever recorded.
- The 2016 attack on Dyn, a primary DNS provider. This attack used around 100,000 IoT devices to generate traffic and caused significant problems for many major websites, including Twitter, Reddit, and Etsy.
- The 2015 attack on OVH, a French web hosting company. This attack used 1 Tbps of traffic and was, at the time, the most significant DDoS attack ever recorded.
To sum up, DDoS attacks are a type of cyberattack involving large numbers of computers simultaneously sending requests to a server or website to overwhelm it and cause disruption. An example of a DDoS attack occurred in 2016 when malicious hackers targeted the home router manufacturer ASUS. This resulted in thousands of users being locked out from their devices for over two hours and experiencing slowdowns on other sites due to high traffic levels generated by the attack. Understanding what DDoS attacks are is essential for anyone looking to protect themselves against such threats online.