Picture this: you just finished playing a video game online, leaving the enemy team completely devastated. While you are patting yourself on the back and admiring your victory, you suddenly lose connection to the game. In fact, you lose Internet connection on everything: your cell phone, your game consoles, and your desktop. Now that you think about it, you can recall someone in your game that was extremely frustrated, particularly at you.
In this scenario, you may have been the victim of a denial-of-service attack.
Denial-of-service attacks are a method that malefactors and miscreants online utilize in order to shut down a targeted person or server through the target’s IP address. This can happen through two, distinct variations; a Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack, or a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack. While both share the same outcome, the difference lies in the execution.
In short, DoS and DDoS attacks send unwanted traffic in the form of “packets” over to the targeted network. While both DoS and DDoS attacks have dire consequences, the former is much easier to quash than the latter. This is primarily the case since DoS attacks come from a single computer. More specifically, only a limited number of packets can be sent at a single time, making the attack much weaker. Additionally, since DoS attacks are orchestrated from a single device, it makes it much easier for the victim to determine where the attack is coming from and stop it. A DDoS attack, on the other hand, makes resistance extremely challenging.
DDoS attacks come from multiple computers at once, thus amplifying the number of packets being sent at once while simultaneously making it significantly more difficult to detect the source of the attack. In other words, DDoS attacks are like heavy artillery. They can be used to shut down entire servers, as opposed to a single person’s Internet connection. This means that the consequences of a DDoS attack can be very costly. In fact, a security survey found that the cost of a DDoS attack can average between $20,000 to $40,000 per hour while shut down.
Overall, denial-of-service attacks should be taken very seriously, as they have the capacity to render the victim completely useless. Whether you are a single person or an enterprise, you should prepare yourself for such an event. Fortunately for you, there are some preventative measures that you can take, and we at Redact will discuss that more in the near future!