Explain it: DDoS attacks

DDoS, denial of service, attacks have been well documented throughout internet history. The basic principles of the attack is flooding and overwhelming an online service by flooding it with traffic from multiple sources. It makes it impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single source as it comes from a range of different sources.


There are 2000 recorded attacks every day and the average price of an attack costs $150 on the black market. Furthermore a simple DDoS attack can be flooding a small server with emails from like petitioning websites  where hundreds of petitioners sign and the email gets sent to the cause. Thus overwhelming the servers.


The first step in creating a DDoS attack is building capacities. Attackers often build huge networks of bot computers, this can be done through creating a virus and malicious software in emails, applications, torrents and social media. Once the device is infected, they are able to remotely control the device without the user’s knowledge to attack a specific online service. They essentially build up an army of computers and devices with many being millions strong.


The second step is to generate large amounts of traffic to overwhelm the target, this may be banks, news websites and email exchanges. This could be sending many requests from each device and also sending huge amounts of random data to the server to use up the servers bandwidth. The server cannot handle all this data and requests and then either freezes or shuts down.


Attackers often sell their services to people willing to DDoS attack a specific website or company, they are bought through the dark web and online marketplaces. A DDoS attack that can last a week long and can take a small organisation weeklong and cost as little as $150.


There are different classes of attacks which include;

  • TCP connection attacks
  • Volumetric attacks
  • Fragmentation attacks
  • Application attacks


Nowadays, these attacks can take down DNS servers, which halt internet productivity and internet services. A recent major attack had brought down large services like Spotify and Twitter. With attacks affecting DNS servers, the future of the internet is fragile with more and more bots being created, thus allowing for larger DDoS attacks.


Read more about the different types of attacks here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack


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