What is a Distributed Denial of Service Attack?


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What is a Distributed Denial of Service Attack? also termed DDos Attack. The question is very common among computer or programming students who are learning about hacking techniques. This question is also asked by willing to be a white hat hacker one day. If you have the same question as well, let’s understand what this is.

Disclaimer – I will be simplifying the DDoS process massively in this article just to give you an outline of the DDoS attacks. In reality, the DDoS attacks can be extremely complicated. After every DDoS attack, a team of engineers sit together and check logs of all network devices to figure out how the attack happened.

What is a Distributed Denial of Service Attack

What is a Distributed Denial of Service Attack?

Distributed denied of service attack is an attack that happens with the intention of keeping the Server busy. Every server has a threshold of how many requests it can handle. Once that threshold is reached, extra requests will be in a queue or maybe never served. Genuine users will never be able to access the website because fake requests are keeping the server busy.

Basics of Website Building and Types of Attacks

When we start thinking of deploying a service online or simply create a website. We have two choices.

  1. Deploy the website on your own server that is located in your place.
  2. Hire a server online as a service and deploy your application in a cloud server.

Deploy the website on your own server that is located in your place

If you decide to use this option then you will have to arrange a computer that is powerful enough to install a server on it. You will require an internet connection that has sufficient bandwidth.

Drawbacks of this option

  1. Keep the server up all the time by managing the power connection to it.
  2. Take care of the physical security of the server.
  3. Deploy a firewall to stay away from cyber attacks.
  4. Get an Internet connection that should be up all the time.
  5. Set up a mail server to have your own mail service.
  6. You will have to manage the server or servers on your own.

Hire a server online as a service and deploy your application in a cloud server

If you want to save your time and money then you can go with the second option that is a cloud server. All the drawbacks that we have discussed earlier will become benefits. In a cloud server.

Who does a DDoS Attack?

Most of the time a hacker perform a DDoS attack. The hacker performs the attack to bring your website down and ask for ransom. Your competitors can also perform DDoS attack on your website in order to drive customers to their website. A lot of time DDoS attack is performed due to enmity. Someone who wants you to stop earning dollars can perform a DDoS attack.

How does a DDoS Attack Happen?

Nowadays, when computing power is increasing exponentially, the servers that host a website or application are extremely powerful. These servers can handle millions of requests per second. If a hacker decides to bring down a server then he will have to reach the threshold. Suppose a server is capable enough to handle a million requests per second then it is the threshold of that server.

Every server is set up to behave in a certain way when reaches the threshold. Some servers are set up to shut down or restart if they receive requests more than the threshold. If the server will not be restarted then it will be stuck.

The hacker will have to send more than 1 million requests to this server to deplete the server resources. The hacker will have to set up the computers to send requests to this server.

They do not use their own computers because that is expensive, they make use of millions of infected computers to send requests. First of all, hackers design software that provides them access to the targeted computer. You can also call this software a Virus or Malicious Software. The second step is to deliver the virus to the targeted computer.

Using the malicious software, hackers get to control the infected computer. The hackers create a huge Bot network of such infected computers. Sometimes these Bot Networks have 10, 20, or 30 million infected computers. The bigger the Bot Network is, the bigger the DDoS attack a hacker can perform. The hacker makes use of these millions of infected computers and makes them send millions of requests to a specific Website server.

Millions of requests come to the server simultaneously and at some point, the server starts denying the requests of genuine users. The genuine users see the website is unavailable. This process is called a DDoS attack.

How do Hackers Deliver Virus to a Computer

Millions of websites available to deliver these viruses. These viruses come in several forms. Some of these are available in the form of Antivirus and claim to remove viruses from computers. The owner of the computer installs these viruses himself and never realizes that he has installed malicious software and now his computer is a part of a large botnet.

Hackers also send malicious links to a huge list of emails. When someone clicks on the link, the malicious software starts installation in the background and the computer becomes the part of BotNet. The computer owner will never know that his computer is a part of a hacking network.

Note – Do not install software that you don’t know about. When you decide to install an antivirus on your computer, never go for unknown softwares. If you can not afford to buy an Antivirus, you can make use of a free trial version of the Genuine Antivirus. Following is the list of some Genuine Antiviruses that have an immense reputation.

Antivirus Lists

Norton Antivirus

McAfee Antivirus

BitDefender Antivirus

Distributed Denial of Service Attack is a huge problem. Security companies are trying to handle this for a very long time. No matter how powerful a server is, every server has limited resources that can be depleted.

Some security companies have setup CAPTCHA as a solution to vulnerability. We will discuss what is CAPTCHA in some other article or you can search on Google what CAPTCHA is.

Article Suggestion – Public, Private key Encryption.


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