What is a DDoS Attack?

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is an attack performed by a botnet to knock a target website or other online service offline. This is accomplished by flooding the target with more traffic than it can handle.

How a DDoS Attack Works

Every computing system has a maximum amount of requests that it can handle. There are several different potential bottlenecks in a system including:

  • Network Bandwidth: A computer is connected to the Internet via network cables, and these cables have a maximum amount of traffic that they can transfer within a certain period of time.

  • Simultaneous Connections: A computer has a limited number of simultaneous network connections that it can have open at a single time. If this number is reached, then the computer must reject any incoming requests.

  • Application Limitations: An application may have limits on the number of requests that it can handle at once. This could be determined by processing speed, storage capacity, or the number of simultaneous sessions that the application can track.

  • Storage or Computational Resources: In addition to network resources, a computer is also limited in its available storage and CPU cycles. If storage is full or the computer is running at capacity, then it can’t accept any more requests.

DDoS attacks are designed to force a system to hit one of these bottlenecks. By sending large volumes of spam requests to the system, the attackers use up bandwidth, computational resources, available connections, etc.

DDoS attacks may be designed to completely destroy a system’s ability to operate or just degrade it. For example, even if a website doesn’t go down completely, every spam request to the service consumes resources that could otherwise be used to serve legitimate users.

DDoS attacks differ from traditional denial-of-service (DoS) attacks due to their distributed nature. A DDoS attack is performed by a botnet or several systems working together. This could be a set of compromised Internet of Things (IoT) devices or cloud-based services. By using multiple devices working together, the attacker can increase the scale of the attack and make it more difficult to detect and block.

Impacts of DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks are designed to spam an organization’s services with malicious requests. Some of the potential impacts of a DDoS attack include:

  • Loss of Availability: If a DDoS attack overwhelms a target system, it might bring it down completely. This could render the service unavailable to legitimate users as long as the attack is occurring.

  • Degraded Performance: A DDoS attack consumes resources on the target system that receives the spam requests. These resources are no longer available to manage the requests of legitimate users.

  • Increased Costs: DDoS attacks consume resources on the target system. This means that the organization is paying for electricity and computational power used to manage these spam requests.

  • Poor User Experience: A DDoS attack can cause services to be slow or unavailable. As a result, the organization may lose customers or suffer reputational damage.

Conclusion

A DDoS attack can harm an organization’s ability to provide services to its customers. DDoS protection solutions are essential to ensuring the availability and performance of an organization’s online services.

 
KZero Staff
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