Distributed Denial of Service

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are one of the most common types of attacks that come to mind whenever Cybersecurity comes up as a topic of discussion. They are among the easiest types of attack to pull off but can also require a lot of resources. The primary resource is known as a botnet, and each botnet consists of various numbers of zombies. Thankfully, they can be as easy to avoid as they are to pull off. Distributed Denial of Service attacks are very common and are necessary to understand because they help dictate how major websites are designed.

A botnet is a network of compromised computers that can be controlled remotely, known as zombies. Computers are often compromised through a variety of viruses or malicious software. They can be used to send malicious files or spam traffic to overload a target’s bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of information a device can send or receive in a short period of time. When a router or modem can no longer handle all the information it is receiving it can panic and shut down momentarily. For major websites that can mean that servers are unable to accommodate potential customers. However, nowadays there are network designs and resources available for combatting Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

A diagram of several computers acting as a botnet, a router, and a victim computer being cut off from a router.

One of the most common responses to Distributed Denial of Service attacks is called Content Delivery Networks (CDN). Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can help filter traffic and ensure only legitimate traffic reaches the source. Really, nearly every type of response follows this sort of logic. It is also possible to scale up resources to meet potential traffic peaks too. However, scaling up server resources can be a costly procedure. It may also be possible to increase the amount of bandwidth possible, but that could also incur a higher cost. For individuals, the solution can be as simple as turning off the target device and going outside; Monitoring your computer and network occasionally for strange behavior can also help ensure your device does not become a zombie.

In conclusion, Distributed Denial of Service attacks can have a low barrier to entry due to the software component involved. However, the strength of a Distributed Denial of Service attack can depend on the size of the botnet, and its available bandwidth. While Distributed Denial of Service attacks may seem scary, they can be simple to counter, and their impact is generally short lived. At the end of the day sometimes Cybersecurity attacks are not as scary as they sound.