This article answers some common questions you may have about distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Read on to discover everything you need to know!
What are DDoS attacks?
DDoS attacks are when an overwhelming amount of traffic hits a server or website to make it unusable. The 'denial' part comes from the attacker's goal of denying legitimate users access to whatever resource is targeted, whether that be a website or service. The attacker can achieve this simply by overloading the system with spurious data and commands or sometimes taking advantage of weaknesses in a server's security.
How do they work?
DDoS attacks happen at the internet protocol (IP) level. This means that when you're accessing a website, e.g., you are essentially sending commands to the server which hosts that site, such as a request to download a webpage. If you're able to flood that server with so much traffic that it can't possibly deal with all of your requests in a timely manner, then you'll effectively be denying everyone else's requests. In addition, all of the data they send can be routed through multiple computers, making it harder to trace the location of the attacker.
Who carries out these attacks, and why?
There is a range of motivations for launching a DDoS attack. For example, a lone individual with a grievance against a particular company or website may launch an attack to bring attention to their cause. Alternatively, they may have financial motives; Criminals often use DDoS attacks to distract IT support while carrying out other crimes, such as stealing personal data or funds. Finally, there are also political and ideological motivations; attackers may see their actions as a form of protest against the target, whether government censorship or an organisation's alleged human rights violations.
What is the best way to prevent DDoS attacks?
There are a number of measures that organisations can take to defend themselves against DDoS attacks. First and foremost, they must have complete visibility into their network to monitor traffic patterns and identify anomalies. If an attack is spotted in its early stages, then it's possible to take steps to mitigate the impact. In this case, organisations will typically contract an IT support company that will work with their ISP. This company will either handle the attack internally by installing software to filter out the junk traffic.
If you would like to find out more, contact an IT support service today.