In IT, DDoS (meaning) refers to a type of cyber-attack where a network or website is flooded with an overwhelming amount of traffic, rendering it inaccessible to users. These attacks are often carried out by multiple compromised systems, making them difficult to stop and prevent.
The basic DDoS (meaning) is that an attacker aims to overwhelm a targeted system with a flood of traffic from multiple sources. This flood of traffic is often generated by a botnet. A botnet is a group of devices that have been infected with malware and can be controlled remotely by the attacker. Botnets can contain a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices as well as regular computers.
During a DDoS attack, the botnet sends a huge amount of traffic to the target, which causes it to become overloaded and unable to respond to legitimate traffic. This can result in the target becoming inaccessible or slow to respond, leading to a loss of revenue, productivity, and reputation. The sheer volume of traffic generated by a DDoS attack can make it difficult to mitigate or stop, and the attack can last for hours, days, or even weeks if left unchecked.
DDoS (meaning) can be refined to reflect more specific details about the exact type of DDoS attack. The three most common forms of DDoS attack strategies in use today are volumetric attacks, protocol attacks, and application-level attacks.
Volumetric DDoS attacks flood a targeted system or network with traffic. The traffic is typically generated using a variety of techniques, including:
UDP flooding: This involves sending large numbers of User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packets to the target, overwhelming its ability to process the requests.
TCP SYN flooding: This involves sending a large number of SYN requests to a targeted system in order to consume its resources and prevent legitimate requests from being processed.
HTTP flooding: This involves sending a large number of HTTP requests to a targeted website or application, consuming its resources, and preventing legitimate users from accessing the site.
DNS amplification: This involves exploiting vulnerable DNS servers to generate large amounts of traffic directed at the target.
Protocol attacks target network layer protocols such as TCP, UDP, and ICMP to consume network bandwidth, system resources, or both. These attacks exploit vulnerabilities in the way protocols are designed and implemented to disrupt network communications.
Some common protocol-based DDoS attacks include SYN floods, UDP floods, and ICMP floods. In a SYN flood attack, the attacker sends a large number of TCP SYN packets to the target server but never completes the three-way handshake process, thus causing the server to maintain half-open connections and eventually exhausting its resources.
In a UDP flood attack, the attacker sends a large number of UDP packets to the target server, overwhelming its ability to process incoming packets. In an ICMP flood attack, the attacker sends a large number of ICMP packets to the target server, causing it to become unresponsive.
One way to mitigate protocol attacks is to filter traffic based on its protocol type and source. This can be achieved using firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and load balancers.
Another approach is to implement rate limiting, which involves limiting the amount of traffic that can be sent or received by a server in a given time period. Additionally, some cloud service providers offer DDoS protection services that can detect and mitigate protocol-based attacks in real-time.
Application layer attacks are designed to exploit vulnerabilities in the software and services that run on the target server. These attacks are typically much more sophisticated than volumetric and protocol attacks and can be much harder to detect and mitigate.
One common application layer attack is the HTTP Flood, which targets the web server layer by sending a large volume of HTTP requests to the server. The aim of this attack is to consume server resources, causing it to slow down or become unresponsive.
Another type of application layer attack is the Slowloris attack, which aims to exploit the way web servers handle HTTP connections by sending a large number of incomplete requests, keeping the connections open, and preventing new connections from being established.
Other examples of application layer attacks include SQL injection attacks, cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, and command injection attacks, all of which exploit vulnerabilities in the application code or web services. These attacks can be particularly dangerous, as they can allow attackers to access sensitive information or take control of the target system.
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