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Distributed Denial Of Service

‘DDOS’- A New Cyber Warfare

In recent times, the word DDOS is being bandied frequently in the Internet community. What is DDOS? DDOS or Distributed Denial of Service is a type of attack in which typically an online service or website is targeted by overwhelming it with fake internet traffic so that legitimate traffic of the website gets blocked and they are not able to serve to their customers. ddos attackIn other words, it is an attempt to make a machine (computer) or network (websites, servers) not available for use by its legitimate users. More info about this can be found at http://ddosprogram.com/

Typically it is done by a hacker who uses bots (more about it later) to send a flood of messages to the targeted system. The targeted system, being unable to distinguish between legitimate traffic and sabotaging traffic, starts to respond to these messages. This causes it to stop responding to the real or legitimate traffic of the website.

Bots or Zombie computers are systems that have been already compromised and are under the control of the hacker. They are infected by Trojans (malware), which do the bidding of the hacker. Trojans are programs that contain malicious code and allow the hacker to take control of the system without your knowledge. A group of bots or zombie computers are called a botnet. Sometimes you might not even be aware that your computer has been compromised and is now part of a botnet . You may be unwittingly participating in a botnet DDOS attack.

What is the difference between a DOS and DDOS? 

A DOS attack is a Denial of service attack in which a single system is causing the attack. While in the case of a DDOS attack, multiple systems take part in the attack, thereby causing it much harder to stop. The flood of internet traffic can sometimes originate from hundreds or thousands of machines, which cannot be stopped by blocking a single IP address. Moreover it is very difficult to distinguish between legitimate user traffic from ’attack traffic’.

The attackers or hackers or crackers, whatever you call them, typically target high profile websites like banks, credit card payment gateways and e-commerce sites. Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo, CNN, ebay; none of these internet giants have been spared from a DDOS attack.

For those who understand things better with visuals, check out the video below that explains what DDOS attacks are.