What is DDoS Attack?
DDoS, short for distributed denial-of-service is a type of malicious attack on your website to disrupt the traffic of a particular network or targeted server. It is attempted by overwhelming the surrounding infrastructure of your website through internet traffic.
DDoS attacks are only effective against your website traffic because they use multiple computer systems as a single source to block the traffic. The machines that are used to induce DDoS attacks are networked resources and computers such as IoT devices.
In general, a DDoS attack creates an unusual traffic jam on your website by clogging up the surrounding infrastructure. Consequently, the traffic is unable to reach your website.
Learning what is DDoS attack is very important if you want to make sure that you protect your business. The truth is that you will end up with lots of different attacks out there, and some can be problematic for your business. Which does make you wonder here, what exactly what is DDoS attack and why are these attacks very problematic for a company?
Learning what is DDoS attack
The DDoS attacks, also known as a distributed denial of service attacks, are attempts made by malicious people that try to disrupt the regular server traffic. What they do is they are overwhelming the target server or even the server infrastructure. They are sending a lot of traffic that way in order to compromise everything, and that becomes a major issue.
The thing you need to keep in mind here is that most of the time the DDoS attack will use compromised machines in order to have them as a source of attack traffic. This can be anywhere from network resources to IoT devices or computers as well. Having an unexpected, large amount of traffic will automatically damage your business and its reputation. People expect your company to always offer access to its services, so this type can be very dangerous.
After a botnet/group of bots is established, the attacker will send instructions to each bot. Then those bots will try to attack everything and that can end up damaging your network quite a bit. The server ends up overwhelmed by the traffic, and then the website goes down. Every bot is a legitimate internet device, which means it’s close to impossible to figure out whether you receive legit traffic or traffic from bots.
What is DDoS attack and how does it work?
A large network of internet-connected IoT devices and computers are used to induce DDoS attacks. All the machines are infected with a vicious malware. Therefore, they can be easily controlled by the attacker.
The machines or inter-connected devices are known as zombies or bots. However, the attacker needs a botnet (group of malware bots) to carry out a DDoS attack.
Once a botnet is established to block the traffic, the attacker carries out a DDoS attack by directing each zombie or bot to prevent the traffic from reaching its destination.
If a victim’s website or server is infected with a DDoS attack, each bot in the botnet targets the IP address and overwhelms the traffic in the surrounding infrastructure, which then results in denial of traffic service.
Each bot is nothing but an internet device infected with malware. Therefore, it is extremely hard to identify the bots and separate them from genuine traffic. However, it is not impossible and can be done in several ways.
How can you identify a DDoS attack?
One thing to keep in mind once you know what is DDoS attack is that it can be easy to identify when one actually takes place. If you see a large amount of traffic coming from an IP range or a single IP address, that’s a telltale sign. On top of that, it might appear as a flood of traffic from users that all share a single behavioral profile.
It can also be a surge in requests to an endpoint or a single page. Then there are also some odd traffic patterns that appear at random hours, and many of them can actually feel unnatural, which is something to address as much as possible.
DDoS Attack Types
Application layer DDoS attacks
Application layer attack is a 7-layer DDoS attack by the botnet, as explained by the OSI model. The purpose of application layer DDoS attacks is to exhaust the server or the website to block the traffic completely.
The application attacks typically attack the layer where the pages of the website are generated and HTTP requests are accepted to let the users access the web pages.
One HTTP request is easy for the server to execute but multiple HTTP requests are hard to respond to because the server runs tons of queries and opens multiple database files to operate a webpage.
Application DDoS attacks are hard to mitigate because they are 7 layers deep and are difficult to defend against the botnet. In short, it blocks legit and potential traffic from your website.
One example of an application layer DDoS attack is the HTTP flood.
State exhaustion or protocol DDoS attacks disrupt the service by consuming the resources of the network overwhelmingly. For instance, it over consumes load balancers and firewalls to exhaust the network.
Protocol malware attacks the 3rd and 4th layers to ensure that every web page is inaccessible to the user.
One example of a protocol attack is the SYN flood. The protocol attack damages the TCP handshake. Hence, the connection between the two devices which was initiated by the network is destroyed.
Volumetric DDoS attacks
Volumetric DDoS attacks create congestion in the server by consuming the bandwidth which was available between the larger internet and the target.
The attacker sends a large amount of data while using some type of amplification to create mass traffic on the website.
One example of a volumetric DDoS attack is DNS amplification. The botnet makes continuous requests to open a DNS server with an IP address. The IP address then receives the request and the website or server becomes unavailable for the genuine traffic/users.
Are DDoS attacks dangerous?
Absolutely, these are usually a way for the hackers to cripple your network and then attack it when it’s vulnerable. Some other times you will find attackers actually focusing a lot on damaging your reputation and then they infiltrate malware which will help them steal your data and information. These things might not seem like a lot, but they end up being very problematic for your business.
It’s important to understand where these issues come from and how you can solve them. Even if it might seem impossible, a DDoS attack can be prevented with the right tools. It’s crucial to have a cyber security team ready to go, since they will give you the help you need, as you prevent issues like this from happening ever again!
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