Understanding a DDoS Attack and Are You Exposed?

What is a DDoS attack?

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service, and it’s known as one of the gravest cyber-crimes of all time, in which the performer’s main intention is to terminate the network or the machine’s accessibility. The unavailability could vary from the severity of the attack; the website could be down for a short time or indefinitely.

When a website is under a Distributed Denial of Service attack, the user wouldn’t be able to open it. The DDoS attack interrupts the web host’s services by flooding the website with excess traffic from several unidentified sources.

The history of DDoS and how it originated

The first ever DDoS attack was recorded way back in 1974, courtesy of a 13-year-old teenager named David Dennis. He discovered a new command when he was studying at University High School. He learned that the ‘ext’ command could cause the terminal to temporarily shut down when none of the devices were connected to it. His curiosity got the best of him, and he decided to overflow the PLATO terminals with the ‘ext’ command, thereby succeeding in blocking access of 31 users at the same time.

Why does a DDoS attack concern a website’s availability?

The attacker seeks to disrupt the network or the source of the web host’s connection to the website. Thus a DDoS attack affects a website’s availability by a great deal. The strike temporarily or indefinitely forces the user’s server to be powered off by sending overload of traffic to the site, therefore rendering it incapable of holding such mass requests and causing it to shut down.  This overload of traffic is what deems the server to be down since the victim’s website, by any means, is not sturdy enough to handle it. Initially, the site will be questionably slow and sluggish, and if the attacker has obtained the authority of the website’s server due to lack of network security, then the attack can be carried out at full force.

Two types of DDoS attacks

1.    Large-Scale Network DDoS

A network Distributed Denial of Service usually takes place when the attacker obtains more than one unique IP address to send traffic on the victim website. The perpetrator usually has well over thousands of IP addresses and the attack is carried out when the flooding of requests on a site is coming from different nodes, from several various networks, so it becomes impossible to decipher the source of the incoming traffic. The attack also spoofs the IP addresses, and this is further held accountable for not being able to stop the attack.

2.    Application layer DDoS

Application-layer processes are usually targeted in this type of DoS. The attacker exerts a particular function way past its limit and causes it to be terminated. An application-layer DDoS attack is not carried out on the spur of the moment; it’s targeted with a precise idea. The traffic incoming from this attack focuses on a sole function or a feature. HTTP floods, DNS floods, and attacks such as Slowloris are included in Application-layer DDoS.

How do DDoS attack a website?

A Distributed Denial of Service can vary in severity. The level of a DDoS attack can be determined in capacity, and the attack may target different layers of the OS. Irrespective of the standard, the attack takes place due to excessive incoming traffic on the website. When the attacker floods the network with a surfeit of requests, the website, the system, the service, and the server is forced to shut down due to overexertion.

How to trace a DDoS attack?

When any DDoS attack occurs, it usually leaves some symptoms in its tracks. These signs can either be obvious or subtle; but more often than not, most people cannot differentiate between these DDoS symptoms from usual lags of a machine.

These signs can include the excessively sluggish speed of files, a blocked-access to any site, disruption in the Internet connection, astonishingly high amount of traffic from unidentified sources, or overload of spam emails.

How to prevent DDoS attacks from happening?

People nowadays are coming to terms concerning cybersecurity and its importance. Prevention against DDoS attacks has slowly started increasing as more users are adopting the firewall or ISP level security.

Online security is being embraced with open arms in today’s age; even web hosting providers are offering anti-DDoS systems free of cost. DDoS protection is easier to conquer. However, DDoS can be prevented by throwing back the excess traffic back on its way, thanks to the ISP.

How frequently do DDoS attacks take place?

It happens quite frequently. Yes, more and more DDoS attacks are indeed being prevented every year, but it shouldn’t escape anyone’s notice that the attempts of these attacks are also increasing tenfold each year.

Even if DDoS attacks are so frequent, it’s always wise to adopt powerful anti-DDoS tools if you don’t want your websites to be unavailable. When a website is under attack, it doesn’t just cost money. The reputation of the site, the trust of the viewers, and their satisfaction are all compromised. Don’t just rely on underlying security your web host offers for free. When it comes to cybersecurity, one mustn’t think before spending money on a web-security expert.

Final Verdict

Distributed Denial of Service is not similar to other cyber crimes. Malware and viruses can be handled; even the most heinous malware cannot terminate your website indefinitely. However, a DDoS attack is fully capable of it. The main intention behind these attacks is to force stop the access of users on a website. DDoS attacks can be easily prevented or rectified if your security is firm, depending on the severity of the attack.

The perpetrator can be perceived as a large crowd, which is clogging your entrance to your favorite coffee shop.

In conclusion, I believe one better be safe in the beginning than being sorry in the end. DDoS attacks are not a cakewalk; they must be prevented with utmost perfection.


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