What Is A DDoS Attack?

What Is A DDoS Attack?

Offering cybersecurity in Miami, we see a lot of attacks on websites and servers. While some attacks aim to steal consumer data and gain access to databases, others will work in malicious ways to overwhelm a network.

One of the main attacks that aim to overwhelm networks rather than access data is known as a DDoS attack.

What Does DDoS Mean?

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is one of the most common attacks on distrusted networks. Every server is limited by resources, such as the RAM and CPU power at the network’s disposal.

Since every request to a server takes resources, these attacks aim to exploit the limitations of the network by bombarding it with requests.

Ultimately, many people or connections will send requests to a server until it can no longer process the request. Many people have experienced something naturally when shopping online. During Black Friday, it’s not uncommon for websites to be unavailable or struggle to render pages or add items to a shopping cart.

Even some of the world’s largest websites cannot handle the massive requests during major sales. It happened to coinbase.com after they aired a TV commercial during this year’s Superbowl.

However, this occurs naturally from actual requests rather than a coordinated attack. DDoS attacks are done for malicious purposes, but the end results are often the same: servers slow to a crawl and may no longer respond to requests.

Why a DDoS Attack is Performed

DDoS attacks have occurred for many reasons. Some perform these attacks out of protest, while others do it to prevent a website from loading. For example, the most common sites that fall victim to these attacks are:

  • Retail sites
  • Casinos
  • Online service providers

Botnets often carry out attacks on sites, leading to most user requests being ignored and much slower load times. Usually, the site being attacked will produce errors because the server has exhausted its resources and ability to handle requests.

The goal of the attack is to stop a business’ online services from working.

Often, these attacks are carried out for a few key reasons:

  1. The hacker demands a payment to stop the attack
  2. An attack is designed to damage a business’ reputation

If the attack is made during a major sale or shopping season, retailers may pay to have the hacker stop the attack to mitigate the risk of lost revenue.

Protecting Against a DDoS Attack

Mitigating attacks is possible, but it requires a few precautions that need to be in place prior to the attack occurring:

  • Filter real and fake traffic
  • Limit the number of requests to a server
  • Firewalls can be put in place to stop certain malicious forms of traffic
  • Mitigation tactics to spread traffic across distributed servers to help negate the risk of a server being overloaded with traffic

If proper mitigation measures are in place, it’s possible to circumvent most DDoS attacks and the harm they cause.

Cybersecurity is crucial for any business that has networks, stores data online or offline and also has public-facing networks. Through proper security measures and prevention, it’s possible to strengthen networks to handle DDoS attacks.