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Understanding a DDoS Attack

The objective of a DDoS attack is to prevent legitimate users from accessing your website. For a DDoS attack to be successful, the attacker needs to send more requests than the victim server can handle. Another way successful attacks occur is when the attacker sends bogus requests.

How does a DDoS Attack Work?

The DDoS attack will test the limits of a web server, network, and application resources by sending spikes of fake traffic. Some attacks are just short bursts of malicious requests on vulnerable endpoints such as search functions. DDoS attacks use an army of zombie devices called a botnet. These botnets generally consist of compromised IoT devices, websites, and computers.

When a DDoS attack is launched, the botnet will attack the target and deplete the application resources. A successful DDoS attack can prevent users from accessing a website or slow it down enough to increase the bounce rate, resulting in financial losses and performance issues.

 

What is the Difference Between DoS and DDoS Attacks?

Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are very similar. The only difference between them is their scale. Single DoS attacks come from one source, while DDoS (distributed) attacks come from multiple locations, often spoofed.

Whether a DoS or DDoS attack, the attacker uses one or more computers. DoS attacks are on the lower end of that spectrum while DDoS attacks are on the higher end. Very large DDoS attacks can span hundreds or thousands of systems. The proliferation of DoS/DDoS attacks is directly attributed to the proliferation of the DDoS-for-hire services market, also known as Booter Services.

What is the Goal Behind a DDoS Attack?

The main goal of an attacker that is leveraging a Denial of Service (DoS) attack method is to disrupt a website availability:

  • The website can become slow to respond to legitimate requests.
  • The website can be disabled entirely, making it impossible for legitimate users to access it.

Any type of disruption, depending on your configuration, can be devastating to your business.

Can DDoS Attacks Steal Information?

DDoS attacks cannot steal the website visitor’s information. The sole purpose of a DDoS attack is to overload the website resources. However, DDoS attacks can be used as a way of extortion and blackmailing. For example, website owners can be asked to pay a ransom for attackers to stop a DDoS attack.

DDoS attacks can have many other motivations including political, hacktivists, terrorists, and business competition. Anyone with a financial or ideological motive can damage an organization by launching a DDoS attack against it.

What Are the Signs of a DDoS Attack?

The signs of DDoS attacks include:

  • The website is responding slowly.
  • The website is unresponsive.
  • The user has problems accessing the website.
  • Internet connection issues if you are a target.

Any type of disruption, depending on your configuration, can be devastating to your business.

How to Prevent a DDoS Attack?

It’s easier and much cheaper to protect your website than to stop a DDoS attack and recover from it. Unfortunately, there is no silver-bullet measure you can take that will prevent a DDoS attack.

However, you can implement certain web security measures that will help you block a DDoS attack. But note, most of these measures are not set-and-forget. You need to use these measures to monitor your site’s activity and check your traffic regularly to spot a DDoS attack.

to protect your site from a DDoS attack, you need to:

  • Install a firewall
  • Maintain an activity log
  • Implement Geo-blocking
  • Install a malware security scanner

You can implement these measures manually which requires technical expertise or by using different plugins.

Final Thoughts

DDoS attacks used to be just an annoyance, but it has grown to be a serious cyber threat. If hackers are successful at a DDoS attack on your site, it can prove to be very painful and expensive.

Written by Tamer Heib – Cyber Content Writer at Cyberetic

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