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    Understanding DDoS and DoS Attacks: Simple and Clear - 1

     

    What are DDoS and DoS attacks?

    Have you ever heard about DDoS attacks? It's like if your favorite store suddenly became overwhelmed with a crowd of people who didn't come to shop but just occupy all the space. That's what happens with organization servers during a DDoS attack: they receive so many requests that they stop working.

     

    And if you imagine a DoS attack, it's the same situation, but instead of a crowd - one person, blocking the entrance. In this case, one computer floods the server with requests, making it inaccessible to others.

     

    The main difference between DoS and DDoS is that DoS is conducted from one computer, and DDoS – from many, making the latter harder to notice and stop.

     

    What are the reasons for DDoS and DoS attacks

     

    So why does anyone do such attacks? There can be many reasons: from personal animosity (as in the case with the FBI in 1999) to political motives (as in Estonia in 2007), for entertainment, extortion, or even as part of business competition.

    DDoS attacks can cause serious damage to businesses. If an online store doesn't work, it loses sales revenue and risks losing customers who may go to competitors. Moreover, there is also the risk of losing reputation and falling in search engine rankings.

    Usually, the victims of such attacks are large corporations, government institutions, financial organizations, medical institutions, and even smart home devices.

     

    How is a DDoS Attack Structured?

     

    Imagine a cafe with a limited number of seats and only one waiter. If a crowd bursts into the cafe, the waiter simply can't cope with serving everyone. In a DDoS attack, the perpetrators use a "botnet" – a network of infected computers that flood the server with requests, like a crowd bursting into a cafe, each demanding the waiter's attention.

     

    How to Identify if a DDoS Attack is Underway?

     

    Imagine your server is like a cafe, and the clients entering it are the server requests. If suddenly a crowd bursts into your cafe and they all start ordering something at once, it's like a DDoS attack. Your cafe (server) can't cope, and real customers can't place any orders.

     

    Here are the main signs that this is happening:

     

    • The server is not functioning as usual. It's like if all the chairs in your cafe suddenly disappeared, and real customers can't find a place.

    • The website hangs or drops connections. Imagine trying to place an order, but the waiter keeps leaving and not coming back.

    • Suddenly the server becomes very busy. It's as if on a normal day, when there are usually not many visitors, suddenly a lot of people come in.

    • Numerous requests for the same actions. It's like if all the visitors suddenly start ordering the same dish.

    • If you notice such things, it could be a sign of a DDoS attack. In this case, like the owner of a cafe who calls security, you should turn to security specialists.

     

    How to Protect Against DDoS and DoS Attacks?

     

    Let's imagine that your website or server is your home. Just as you protect your home from uninvited guests, you need to protect your server from DDoS and DoS attacks.

     

    • Basic protection - like installing a good lock on the door. This is the simplest thing you can do. It may include measures such as traffic filtering to weed out suspicious requests or using basic protection programs.

    • Using specialized services - like hiring a security company. There are companies that specialize in protection against such attacks. They can help monitor suspicious activity and block attacks before they reach your server.

    • Creating backups - like having a contingency plan for unforeseen situations. It's like having an additional home to move to if your main home becomes uninhabitable. For a website, this means having backup servers that can take over the load if the main server fails.

    • Updating and maintaining the system - like regular home maintenance. Technical maintenance and security updates of your server will help prevent vulnerabilities that can be exploited in attacks.

    • Staff training - like teaching family members safety rules. It is important that people working with your server are aware of potential threats and know how to respond correctly in the event of an attack.

     

    These steps will help protect your 'home' (server) from unwanted 'guests' (attacks). As with a real home, it's better to prepare in advance than to face problems when an attack has already started.

     

    What are the Types of DDoS Attacks?

     

    DDoS attacks come in different types: from "transport layer" attacks (which create bottlenecks on the "roads" leading to the server) to HTTP flooding (overloading the server with requests) and ICMP flooding (endless 'Are you there?' queries). There are also SYN floods, UDP floods, MAC floods, and many other methods to create chaos and overload the server.

     

    Application Layer L7 Attacks - This is when the attacker forces server processors, RAM, and data storage systems to perform complex tasks, leading to their overload and inability to process regular requests.

     

    To draw a parallel, this could be similar to a situation where someone forces a cafe waiter to perform very complex tasks, exhausting them and interfering with customer service.

     

    There are also infrastructure attacks: from computational attacks that make the processor engage in "heavy" tasks, to disk overflow, bypassing quota systems, and incomplete user verification. There are even second-order attacks, where a false signal of server overload is created.

     

    There are also DNS Attacks.

     

    Finally, there are attacks on DNS servers, which can be compared to damaging the signs directing customers to a cafe. If these signs are broken, customers simply won't find their way to your "cafe."

     

    Conclusion

     

    As you can see, attacks on infrastructure can be very diverse and targeted at different aspects of server operation, creating numerous challenges for security specialists. They must always be on guard to protect the "cafe" from all potential threats.