What is DoS and DDoS Attack?

1. Understanding DoS Denial of Service (DoS) is when a website can’t service its regular users. Normally, these issues arise without any malicious intentions. Let's break it down:

DoS happens most of the time when a big website links to a smaller site which was not created to handle the same amount of traffic. As a result, the smaller website is not able to handle the influx of traffic, and hence, it becomes unresponsive to its users.

If you insert the word ‘attack’ into the mix, this makes for a DoS attack which is now a different case altogether. This is when a hacker makes a conscious effort by using DoS to create the problem. The are a number of methods that scammers can do this. The DoS attack only refers to the expected result; not the way it’s being done.

Moreover, by consuming all the web server’s resources, a DoS attack causes the server to be unavailable for its users, and in extreme instances, it can even crash the entire thing; taking it down completely.

2. Understanding DDoS Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks happen when a single hacker uses multiple systems to execute a Denial of Service attack.

The goal of a DDoS attack is to prevent legit users from accessing the site. Moreover, it's a non-intrusive web attack designed to slow down or destroy a targeted site by flooding the server, program, or network with fake traffic.

Similarly, if, say, this attack is used against an exposed resource-intensive endpoint; even a small amount of traffic is good enough for the attack to succeed. DDoS attacks are threats that site owners need to familiarise with since they’re a crucial portion of the security landscape.

Plus, navigating the different types of DDoS attacks is time consuming and can be especially challenging.

How DDoS Attacks Work?

A DDoS attack often tests the limits of a network, web server, and software resources by uploading spikes of fake traffic. Some DDoS attacks today are only short bursts of malicious requests on unprotected endpoints like search functions. Further, these attacks use an army of zombie devices known as botnets.

Botnets generally comprise compromised computers, websites, and IoT devices. Once an attack has been launched, the botnet attacks the specific target, and exhausts the whole network and its resources.

Also, a successful attack can prevent legitimate users from accessing the site or it slows down the network enough to increase bounce rate. As a result, performance issues, and or financial losses are experienced.

What Exactly is a Botnet?

Also regarded as zombie computers or devices, a botnet, in a nutshell, is simply a DDoS network. Let me explain. Botnets are networks of hacked devices or bots that are controlled remotely. It is simply the reason why DDosing is possible.

In addition, for a hacker to carry out a successful DDoS attack, the hacker (a single guy) hacks into various networks, IoT devices, applications, computers; that forms the botnet or what’s called zombie computers.

As a result, the hacker can then control such zombies or bots remotely, and send more requests to a targeted network than the server can handle. Here are some signs of DDosing or a DDoS attack today.

  • Net connection problems incase you’re targeted
  • A site is not responding or it’s doing it slowly
  • Users are having issues accessing a webpage, etc.

What are the Common DDoS Attacks Types?

Looking at security reports, as well as DoS or DDoS post-mortems, perhaps you may have already come across different types of names regarding several DDoS. Typically, all kinds of DDoS are technically designed to consume net server resources. And as a result, the system slows down or crashes.

Second, the loT (Internet of Things) is a network of physical gadgets that are embedded within electronics, sensors, actuators, software, and connectivity. These things can connect, and exchange information which hackers can use to carry out malicious attacks.

Likewise, your gadgets, like the home routers, for example, can easily be compromised and used to form a botnet for a DDoS attack. Here’s how to summarise the three main types of DDoS attack:

  • Application layer attacks. Some are calling them, the layer 7 attacks. Their goal is to crash your web server. It can often be thought of as repeatedly refreshing a browser from dozens of computers at once.
  • Volume-based attacks. This kind of DDosing uses a form of amplification, or the requests from a botnet to establish large amounts of traffic to overwhelm the system.
  • Protocol attacks. Also called, the state-exhaustion attacks. They focus on exploiting net resources exposure; exhausting server setups like load balancers and firewalls.

The 5 Most Common Types of DDoS Attacks

  1. User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Flood Attack: This is a volumetric DDosing that uses UDP packets to bombard the target server with unnecessary traffic.

Its aim is to random ports on remote hosts which then causes them to scan for application or program listenings, and return with what is known as ICMP Destination Unreachable packet. Further, as this procedure is repeated over and over; the resources of the protocols are flooded, and exhausted as the firewall is trying to process, and respond to all requests.

  1. SYN Flood Attack: The term SYN is simply the short of synchronise. This flood attack is sometimes called a half-open attack. SYN flooding is a network-tier attack that just bombards the target server with a dozen connection requests without responding to a single relative acceptance.

Further, the amount of open Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connections results in consuming all server resources to critically crowd out legit traffic. This makes it more difficult to open new connections, and nearly impossible for the target server to function well for already connected users.

  1. HTTP Flood Attack: It is called HTTP flood because it floods the target server with process-intensive requests till the server crashes, or it no longer has the ability to respond to genuine user requests.

HTTP floods are especially difficult to block. Because they’re specially designed to attack the specific server by using seamlessly legit requests rather than spoofing, or reflection methods. Moreover, the hacker’s botnet just inundates the server or application with as many GET or POST requests as it can to exhaust the target’s resources.

  1. DNS Amplification: Generally, Amplification attacks are reflection based volumetric DoS attacks. In this scenario, the hacker utilises this process to launch DNS resolvers to exhaust the target network, or the server with huge amounts of traffic.

As a result, the system becomes inaccessible for the remainder of its infrastructure. This kind of attack is known as volume-based attack. Solution; using a network with programmable, and high capacity firewalls. And as such, the Chrome browser protection Guardio is especially useful in this regard.

5. NTP Amplification: This here is a net protocol that web-connected devices are using to synchronise their clocks. But previous versions of NTP can allow the admins to observe, or monitor traffic with a command known as monlist.

Monlist sends a list of the last six hundred hosts that were previously connected to the queried network. In brief, the hacker sends the get monlist requests over and over again to a public NTP server while spoofing the queried server.

And as such, the list is therefore sent to the targeted network which then amplifies the number of traffic, and eventually results in a degraded or unavailable service for users.

How Can You Recognise a DDoS Attack?

Effective security solutions must be the first, or top most thing on every site owner’s mind. With malicious attackers constantly uncovering new ways to step up their game, website admins should remain ever vigilant. Also, there are a dozen reasons why criminals are targeting websites—two of which are malicious threat spreading, and financial gains.

And although the web still gets tougher, and faster every day, DDosing is still among its greatest irritations. This means that those who are operating a business website should know how to identify DDoS in order to remedy an attack as quickly as possible.

Identifying a DDoS Attack

We will be lying if we tell you that there is a single way for identifying DDoS. Because there are 4, or potentially 5 signs you could be facing an attack.

  • Your staff are complaining a slowed connection
  • The ping requests keeps timing out
  • There is a massive spike in your traffic
  • You are receiving many requests from a range of IPs or from the same IP address
  • The server is responding with a 503 because of service outages.

What is the Process of Mitigating a DDoS Attack?

Mitigating DDoS is the process of protecting your server, or network from a DoS seizer. Several techniques can help you mitigate the threats. These include structured network security tools like, say, Guardio, or a cloud-based service. Here are some of the available mitigating options.

  • Having a DoS responsive plan
  • Adapting the basic network security practices
  • Maintaining robust network architecture
  • Adding an extra layer of security to your browser

In addition, the kind of measures you take regarding an attack is crucial in determining the end results. And preparing your data centre, as well as ensuring that every team member understands their responsibilities is also critical to the process.

Equally, adapting basic knowledge of network security can help protect your business networks from being jeopardised. And it is also very important for businesses to establish multiple network resources.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is DDoS Attack Mean? The DDoS meaning. Distribution Denial of Service is a cybercrime that involves a hacker who uses special techniques to flood a network, or a server with fake web traffic that prevent legitimate users from accessing specific web-connected services.

While it’s often known that cybercriminals will almost only hack into a system to steal specific credentials, some other cases involve other hacktivists who only hack for fun. They can just take down an entire organisation’s server only to make a statement, express their disapproval, or just have fun exploiting cyber vulnerabilities. These kinds of hackers are also broadly recognised as the grey hat hackers.

2. Are DDoS Attacks Illegal? In a nutshell, DDosing is a crime that is greatly punishable by law. Essentially, DDosing is prohibited by the government. And it’s very much illegal as stated by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Cybercriminals can face imprisonment fees of up to $5-million fine, and a jail term of at least 10-years.

3. Can You DDoS Legally? No. DDosing is purely illegal. It involves illegal network hackings and server manipulation, or damage. Causes major financial and business losses among other critical factors. DDoS are only considered as malicious attempts to disrupt, or interfere with normal operations of targeted networks, or businesses.

4. How is DDoS Attack Done? DDoS attacks basically complete their disruption by sending fake or malicious traffic from a single computer. And they can be especially easy—a simple ping flood attack can be completed by sending dozens of ICMP ping requests than a network or server can process, and efficiently respond to.

5. Why Do Hackers Do DDoS Attacks? There are many reasons why hackers, or other cyber criminals go DDoS. Sometimes a hacker can target a high-profile website, for instance, to further special causes.

Also, a DDoS attack on a popular website is almost always a hacking collective’s way of making a statement of something they’re seeing as important. The kind of websites which are often the targets include those owned by: International corporations, media organisations, banks, etc.

Equally, some DDoS attacks may also be as a result of Political disagreement, business dissatisfaction, or collecting a ransom, for example.

6. What Difference is There Between DoS and DDoS Attacks? Apart from how both attacks are carried out—the main difference between these two is the keyword (Distributed). Second, a DoS attack is done by one hacker who’s only working with his computer. Meanwhile, a Distributed attack (DDoS) is when a hacker is using several systems to execute the attack.

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