Distributed Denial of Service

Definition of Distributed Denial of Service

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is a type of cyberattack that aims to disrupt or overwhelm a targeted online service, such as a website or network, by flooding it with a massive amount of fake traffic. The attack is distributed, meaning it originates from multiple sources, often compromised devices or computers connected in a botnet. By overwhelming the target with incoming requests, the DDoS attack makes it difficult or impossible for legitimate users to access the services they need.


Distributed Denial of Service in phonetics would be:Dih-stri-byu-tid Dih-ni-al Uhv Ser-vis

Key Takeaways

  1. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks involve multiple systems targeting a single target, such as a website or server, causing it to become overwhelmed and inaccessible to users.
  2. DDoS attacks can have various motivations, including hacktivism, financial gain, and even personal grudges, causing significant damage to businesses and organizations in terms of lost revenue, resources, and reputational harm.
  3. Preventing DDoS attacks involves multi-layer security measures like deploying a Web Application Firewall (WAF), properly configuring servers, employing traffic monitoring and filtering, and utilizing cloud-based DDoS mitigation services.

Importance of Distributed Denial of Service

The technology term Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is important because it refers to a type of cyberattack that can severely disrupt online services, websites, and infrastructure, potentially causing significant damage and inconvenience to businesses, organizations, and individuals.

In a DDoS attack, multiple systems, often infected with malware, are used to overwhelm a targeted system or network with a flood of internet traffic.

This surge can cause the targeted system to become slow, unresponsive, or completely unavailable, resulting in loss of access to information, services, or communication for users.

DDoS attacks are a concern for all parties involved in the digital world, necessitating the need for robust security measures and constant vigilance to protect vital online assets and ensure the uninterrupted operation of important services.


Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks serve as a malevolent purpose primarily used by cybercriminals, hacktivist groups, or even governments to disrupt websites, networks, or online services. This malicious intent is often executed for various reasons such as causing financial loss to targeted organizations, extracting sensitive information, political objectives, or tarnishing a company’s reputation.

DDoS attacks work by overloading the target systems, rendering them unavailable to legitimate users, which can often lead to disruptions in the services provided or communication between the targeted company and its consumer base. To achieve this goal, a DDoS attack typically employs a large number of compromised devices, known as a botnet, to send an overwhelming amount of traffic or requests to the targeted website or online service.

By coordinating efforts from multiple devices, the attack becomes much more powerful compared to one originating from a single system. This distributed nature also makes it harder for security teams to trace back the attack source and apply countermeasures effectively.

As technology and internet connectivity continue to advance, the potency and scale of DDoS attacks are expected to grow, necessitating more robust security solutions to protect digital assets and infrastructure.

Examples of Distributed Denial of Service

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks aim to overwhelm targeted systems and networks by bombarding them with massive amounts of traffic, resulting in disruption or shutting down of services. Here are three real-world examples of DDoS attacks:Dyn DDoS Attack (2016): In October 2016, a massive DDoS attack targeted Dyn, a major Domain Name System (DNS) service provider. The attack primarily affected the United States, taking down popular websites and services like Twitter, Netflix, and PayPal. A botnet called Mirai, which consisted mainly of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, was used to launch the attack with a traffic volume of around

2 Tbps, making it one of the most powerful DDoS attacks in history.GitHub DDoS Attack (2018): In February 2018, the popular coding and development platform GitHub fell victim to a DDoS attack that reached peak traffic of

35 Tbps. The platform experienced intermittent outages for about ten minutes until the attack was mitigated. This attack utilized a new technique called memcached reflection, in which the attacker spoofs a target’s IP and sends a request to multiple public servers, causing those servers to send a large amount of data back to the target.Estonia DDoS Attacks (2007): One of the earliest examples of large-scale DDoS attacks occurred in Estonia during a political conflict between Estonia and Russia. In April and May 2007, a series of DDoS attacks targeted Estonian government institutions, banks, and media outlets. The attacks crippled Estonian digital infrastructure for several weeks, resulting in financial losses and temporary shutdowns of services. The incident drew attention to the vulnerabilities of nation-states to cyber warfare and DDoS tactics.

FAQ: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

What is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack?

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a type of cyber attack in which multiple compromised systems are used to launch a coordinated attack on a target, causing a flood of traffic that overwhelms the targeted system’s resources, leading to its disruption or complete shutdown.

How do Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks work?

DDoS attacks work by leveraging a network of compromised systems known as a botnet. The attacker instructs these bots to send a high volume of traffic to the target, causing it to exhaust its resources and ultimately become unresponsive or crash.

What are the common types of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks?

Some common types of DDoS attacks include volumetric attacks, protocol attacks, and application-layer attacks. Volumetric attacks overwhelm the target’s bandwidth, protocol attacks exploit vulnerabilities in network protocols, and application-layer attacks target specific applications or services.

What are the consequences of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack?

DDoS attacks can cause significant damage to the targeted organization or individual, including service downtime, loss of customer trust, reputational damage, and potentially financial loss. In some cases, DDoS attacks may also be a precursor to more damaging cyber attacks, such as data theft or ransomware.

How can you protect yourself from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks?

To protect yourself from DDoS attacks, implement security measures such as using a strong firewall, monitoring and mitigating traffic, implementing redundancy and failover solutions, and partnering with a DDoS protection service provider. Also, ensure that all devices on your network are patched and updated regularly to minimize vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

Related Technology Terms

  • Botnet
  • IP Spoofing
  • Application Layer Attack
  • Network Layer Attack
  • SYN Flood

Sources for More Information


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