Technological development continues to shape our lives and enhances efficiency in almost every sector. However, cyber-attacks have become a real challenge preventing the leapfrogging of some businesses. One of the many forms of cyber attacks that gives sleepless nights to organizations is distributed denial of service (ddos attacks). The distributed denial of attacks is a subclass of denial of service attacks (dos) where an online service is made unavailable because of being overwhelmed by excess traffic from many sources.
The difference between a denial of service attack and distributed denial of service (ddos) attacks is that the former uses a single computer from the internet connections to target the vulnerability of a system or web server while the latter is launched from multiple computers from connected devices to generate the attacks through botnets.
The target system could be for a bank, corporation, government, or even an e-commerce firm that provides a variety of online services. A distributed denial of service(ddo) can involve the following attempts: Hijacking and overloading the web-servers, overwhelming ports with requests rendering them ineffective, blocking wireless authentication, and making sure they cannot access online service.
Types of DDoS attacks
Application attacks; The application attacks focus on exploiting the deficiency of specific web applications and systems. They overwhelm a particular segment of a service making it ineffective or unavailable. Although they are not common they are complex in nature since they attack the most powerful and critical parts of application systems hence making access by the users difficult.
Protocol Attacks; These kinds of denial of service attacks are more focused and exploit vulnerabilities in a server’s resources. The internet works with set protocols in which things move from one point to another and the protocol attacks exploit system methodologies in Layers 3 and 4 protocol stacks. They attack and occupy server resources or network hardware with more packets than what the server can handle which leads to service disruption. Examples of these attacks are ping of death and SYN Flood. They are measured in packets per second (Pps).
Volume-based; Volume-based attacks are a class of dos attacks that target systems by generating a large number of requests to the network which it presumes as valid-spoofed packets or invalid requests- malformed packets. As a result, they overwhelm the network bandwidth saturated data and result in denial of service. The common example of Volume attacks is UDP Floods and ICMP floods.
DoS attacks are designed to wreak havoc in the networks. Installing effective defense systems can help in safeguarding them. Here are some of the techniques;
Reduce the possible attack surface area; It can be implemented by restricting directing dos attacks excess traffic to specific parts of the network with the help of the Content Distribution Network.
Also, using Black Hole Routing and configuring web application firewalls provides an ideal way of turning back invalid traffic that causes the denial of service attack because it analyzes data to detect any threats and sends it to a black hole. Additionally, adopting extensive network systems that offer big volumes of data as well as load balancers to distribute traffic across various servers has proven to be key in combating ddos attacks.
As the technology advances, Cybercriminals continue to enhance the denial of service to make it complex and exploit network and website applications. However, identifying system vulnerabilities where the ddos attacks can take advantage of is important because a company will put proactive defensive security. When a company doesn’t host its data and realizes a denial of service attack, the best action to do is to notify the hosting provider to assist in unraveling traffic patterns and forming personalized protections.