What is DDoS Attack?

Are you experiencing an unusually slow loading of your favorite website? Where you suddenly denied access to one of your applications hosted on a web server? Chances are you have just seen one of the symptoms and manifestations of a DDOS attack. What is a DDOS attack?

DDoS is acronym for Distributed Denial of Service. DDos attack means that it is a malicious attempt by a person of bad intention to disrupt the normal operations of a machine or network resource resulting to being unavailable to its users. Thus, the intended users are denied service or access to important or vital resources.

A spiteful hacker often utilizes several computers infected with a Trojan virus to accomplish a DDoS attack and cause several computer resources abruptly stop interacting with the rightful users. Websites, web applications, e-mail, voicemail, and network resources are the frequent victims of DDoS attacks. A hacker might and hack Facebook to cause millions of valid users unsuccessfully log in to their accounts.

Without any warning, a DDoS attack can come from large number of remotely-controlled virus-infected computers and overwhelm the target web server with a sudden flood of network traffic. The victim web server consequently becomes so entangled with its efforts to deal with the attacker’s requests such that it fails to respond to requests from its legitimate users. From his end, the user may see the web site to seemingly stop responding.

DDoS attack is called distributed because the denial of service attacks come from many source computers surging all at once. Imagine, in real life, all cars coming from all four roads and speeding up to crash at an intersection all at the same time. The result is total chaos and destruction.

Although the denial or suspension of service is temporary, the effects last indefinitely and can leave a lot of damage. Online businesses may lose thousands of dollars, not to mention possibly losing loyal customers, as a result of this unjustifiable attack.

Symptoms and manifestations of DDoS attacks include, but are not limited to unusual slow loading of web sites, web sites suddenly become unavailable, can’t open any web site, all of a sudden you receive plenty of spam emails or e-mail bombs, your wireless internet is strangely disconnected, or you have been denied access to the internet for a long time.

Efforts have been made to counteract DDoS attacks. Web servers employ a combination of early detection of attacks, classifying traffic, and response tools. This is done in order to block illegitimate traffic and allow passage of legitimate ones. Prevention tools include firewalls, switches, routers, application front end hardware, intrusion-prevention systems (IPS) based prevention, DoS (Denial of Service) Defense System (DDS), blackholing and sinkholing, and clean pipes.

Many countries have passed laws outlawing denial-of-service attacks. The United Kingdom will sentence hackers, if proven guilty, to a maximum of 10 years in prison. In the United States, denial-of-service attacks are already considered as a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.