A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is big news and often one of the more common methods used to bring a network or large websites to their knees.
Multiple systems are used to swallow up the bandwidth on a network. In doing so, the systems and servers become overloaded with attack traffic of thousands of requests per second from varying IP address locations..
In most cases, DDoS attacks are malicious volume-based attempts to disrupt regular traffic and swallow server resources.
However, in some instances, this malicious traffic is a decoy. Hackers who commit these DDoS attacks work at the same time installing malware or going about some other unscrupulous business. (Read How to Scan For Malware On Website)
Here, you can learn what is a denial of service attack (DDoS attacks) and the impact they can have. You can also learn how to reduce the risks of these on your server or network.
What is a DDoS Attack in Simple Words?
In simple words, a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is where multiple computer systems are compromised and then attack a target. In short, DDoS is one type of DoS attack
The targets can be a company server, website, or network resource. The flood of messages, connection requests, or corrupt packets force the target to slow down, and it has the potential to crash. Either way, users are denied access.
At the start of a DDoS attack, cybercriminals or hackers exploits a vulnerability on one computer system. It then becomes a DDoS master.
The master system identifies vulnerable systems then takes control by infection of malware or bypassing authentication such as guessing passwords.
A ‘Zombie or bot’ is a compromised device. Next, you have the command-and-control server, which commands a network of bots (Botnet). Botnets can amount to any number up to several thousand.
What Does a DDoS Attack Do?
The type of distributed denial of service attack range in sophistication, though they follow the same premise.
A cyber-attack floods a web server, services, websites, or networks with traffic. Once traffic overwhelms a target, it is rendered inoperable.
Network connections across the Internet comprise different layers of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. (Read Hypixel Ban Appeals)
Different type of DDoS traffic attacks include:
- Layer 3 – Network layer attacks: Smurf Attacks, ICMP Floods, and IP/ICMP Fragmentation.
- Layer 4 – Transport layer DDoS attacks: SYN Flood, UDP Flood, and TCP Connection Exhaustion.
- Layer 7 attacks – Application layer attack: HTTP-encrypted application-layer attacks in most cases.
Cybercriminals use botnets for several purposes, such as sending spam, malware, and ransomware. User computers can be part of a botnet without user knowledge.
We now have the expanding Internet of Things (IoT), whose numbers reach in the millions. Such devices are being hacked to become part of botnets to deliver DDoS attacks.
Security on Internet of Things devices isn’t advanced as computers; thus, they are an easy target for cybercriminals to exploit. (Read Do I Need An Antivirus For Mac)
In 2016 the Dyn attack was made possible through Mirai malware. Here, a botnet of IoT devices comprising cameras, smart TV’s printers, and baby monitors was created.
Even worse was this was the first open-source botnet of IoT devices, and anyone can adapt this code for their purposes.
Are DDoS Attacks Illegal?
A DDoS type of attack is illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. If you happen to cause one, you could be in line for up to a $500,000 fine. The cost to businesses or services can amount to a much more significant number than this.
DDoS attacks contain various forms of attack rather than just one. Here is a quick overview of the most common types of DDoS attacks you can expect.
Application Layer Attacks or a layer 7 DDoS attack will disrupt any access to a server or service. A web server can be attacked by an HTTP flood attack.
Protocol Attacks are set to attack the networking layer of the target computing device. It will overwhelm a firewall, load balancer, and other things that forward request to the target. The FIFO queue becomes so large the server can’t cope with responding.
Volumetric Attacks use the botnet to create a large volume of traffic. The requests increase the response sizes, yet there are multiples of these that the computer can’t deal with.
DNS Amplification is very similar to this and attacks a DNS server. When they ask for large amounts of data as a response, it quickly chokes the outbound connections and causes a meltdown of DNS servers.
How Long Do DDoS Attacks Last?
A DDoS attack (denial of service attacks) can last for up to 24-hours. While this doesn’t sound too long before you can get back to legitimate traffic being sent, you need to consider the thousands of packets per second and a large amount of traffic that will try to pass at this time.
The impact on the target of DDoS attacks can be significant, as some of the world’s largest companies can testify to.
Here is a quick look at how you can stop a DDoS or carry out DDoS mitigation.
- Identify the attack early – know your server’s legitimate requests and the load it takes.
- More Bandwidth – Have more bandwidth available than you require. It won’t put a stop to a DDoS, but it can give you extra time.
- Ste Network Parameters – You can change a few parameters to give you time to get into action.
- Speak to your service provider – Many ISP’s may be able to help, so keep their numbers close. They may ‘Null’ your traffic to save your network.
- Contact specialists – Such companies can scrub your traffic, yet they do cost a lot for their operation
- Use a software DDoS Tool – you can put things in place that help identify attacks to layer 7.
It can be worth using a VPN for all network communications. Such a service will take your source IP and give you new source IP addresses in another location. (Find the Best VPNs)
Any cyber-criminal trying to base any attacks, DDoS, or otherwise won’t see your real IP and thus can’t bombard you with suspect network traffic.