There is no shortage of Internet-based attacks that exist. Whether you are a Canadian business or an individual user, you are at risk when you use the Internet in a number of ways. With viruses, Trojans, and malware, you need to have-up-to-date protective measures in place to ensure that your data is not compromised and your computer is safe. One threat that commonly is overlooked is DDoS attacks.
What are DDoS attacks?
DDoS, which is short for distributed denial of service, is a very common form of Internet-based attack that often gets overlooked. DDoS attacks are used to target and compromise multiple computer system or networks and are commonly infected with a Trojan virus. This is different than a denial of service (DoS) attacks in the sense that these attacks are only targets at a single platform.
The reason why DDoS attacks have become popular in the hacker community is because of the amount of traffic they can generate through the use of multiple machines. It also makes it more difficult to identify, track and stop the source of the attack when many systems are in play.
How DDoS attacks work
Here is how a DDoS attack works:
- Hackers begin a DDoS attack by cracking into and exploiting a weakness in a computer system allowing them to gain access to the system. It is this system that will be used to execute the wider attack on other systems. This is often called the master system.
- Using the master system, hackers target and communicate with other systems or computers they want to access and compromise.
- Hackers use the sub systems they have compromised to add tools and malware onto all of the systems they have access to.
- Once the tools are installed on other machines and systems, hackers execute a command and begin a launch of attacks against its main target.
- The excessive volume of packets and transmission that are sent to the target cause a denial of service. The flooding of messages also forces the system to shut down and prevent authorized users from accessing the system.
There are a number of ways that these attacks can be carried out by hackers. Some of the most common include:
- The consumption of a network's bandwidth or processing capabilities.
- Interfering with physical network components.
- Interfering and altering systems configuration information related to its routers or switches.
- The activation of malware with the intention of triggering system errors in processing or causing the operating system to crash.
DDoS attack victims
There are actually three types of victims in an attack of this nature:
- The intended target: This is the system that actually experiences the denial of service. It can be a company, a website, or a person.
- The controlled systems: The other victims are the systems that are used to execute the attack. In most cases, they are unaware that their system has even been compromised and is being used for malicious purposes. These computers or systems are referred to as a bot or zombie and a collection of them is commonly referred to as a botnet.
- Users: Computer users that require access to targeted accounts are also victims as they often cannot access their account. And in some cases, they are losing out on services they are paying a fee to access.
To help protect against a DDoS attack, users need to take the necessary precautions related to safe computing. Here are some options to consider:
- The use of routers and switches
- Intrusion prevention systems
- Denial of Service (DoS) defense systems.
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