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What is a Denial of Service(DoS) Attack?

When a malicious cyber threat actor prevents legitimate users from accessing information systems, devices, or other network resources, this is known as a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. Email servers, websites, online accounts, and other services that rely on the compromised system or network may be disrupted. A denial-of-service attack is carried out by flooding the targeted host or network with traffic until it becomes unable to react or simply fails, denying legitimate users access. DoS attacks can cost a company both time and money while its resources and services are unavailable.

How does a DoS Attack Work?

The fundamental purpose of a DoS attack is to overload the capacity of a targeted machine, resulting in a denial of service for additional requests. Denial of service attacks typically involve TCP and UDP packets. In a DoS attack, the attackers flood the victim's system with unlawful traffic or service requests in order to overwhelm its resources and prevent it from performing its intended functions.

The use of a fake IP address, which prevents the server from authenticating the user, is a hallmark of these attacks. The server becomes overburdened as the stream of fake requests is processed, causing it to slow down and, in some cases, crash, causing legitimate users' access to be disturbed. The malicious actor must have more accessible bandwidth than the target in order for most DoS attacks to succeed.

How is a DoS Attack Performed?

A DoS attack can be carried out via a variety of methods. When an attacker floods a network server with traffic, this is the most typical method of attack. The attacker sends multiple requests to the target server, overloading it with traffic, in this sort of DoS attack. These service requests are forged and include fictitious return addresses, leading the server astray when it attempts to authenticate the requestor. The server becomes overburdened as a result of the constant processing of junk requests, resulting in a DoS circumstance for valid requestors.

  • The attacker uses a faked source Internet Protocol (IP) address that belongs to the target system to transmit Internet Control Message Protocol broadcast packets to a number of hosts in a Smurf Attack. The recipients of these spoofed packets will then respond, inundating the targeted host with responses.
  • When an attacker sends a request to connect to a target server but fails to complete the connection through a three-way handshake - a procedure used in a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/IP network to establish a connection between a local host/client and server - an SYN flood ensues. The connected port becomes occupied and unavailable for further requests due to the unfinished handshake. An attacker will keep sending requests until all resources are exhausted.

DoS attacks can harm individual networks even if they aren't explicitly targeted. If the network's internet service provider (ISP) or cloud service provider is targeted and attacked, the network's service will be disrupted.

Is DOS Attack Illegal?

Yes, using DoS techniques to interrupt a target without permission is prohibited. Setting up a DoS drill to rehearse your Incident Response plan for DoS attacks, which is a legal use of DoS, is a smart idea.

What are DOS Attack Techniques?

DoS attacks can be carried out in two ways: by flooding systems or by crashing them. Flood attacks happen when a system receives too much traffic for the server to buffer, leading it to slow down and eventually stop responding.

Crashing DoS attacks simply take advantage of flaws in the target system or service, causing it to crash. In these attacks, input is received that takes advantage of a vulnerability in the target, causing the system to crash or become significantly destabilized, making it inaccessible or utilize.

What Are the Symptoms of DOS Attacks?

You may withness some abnormalities before a DoS attack is launched or during the DoS attack. These are the followings;

  • Network speed is unusually slow (opening files or accessing websites).
  • A certain website's unavailability.
  • Any website cannot be accessed.
  • Spam volume in your account has skyrocketed.

What are Types of Denial of Service Attacks?

DoS attacks can be classified into three categories:

1. Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS)

DDoS attacks work in a similar way to DoS attacks, except that requests are generated from multiple clients rather than just one. Many "zombie" machines are frequently used in DDoS attacks (machines that have been previously compromised and are being controlled by attackers). These "zombie" machines then send a flood of requests to a service in order to shut it down.

2. Unintended Denial of Service Attacks

Not all denial-of-service attacks are malicious. The "unintended" Denial of Service attack is the second type of attack. "The Slashdot Effect", also known as "The Reddit Hug of Death", is the archetypal example of an accidental DDoS. Slashdot is a news site where anyone may contribute stories and connections to other sites. Millions of people may visit the site if a related story becomes popular, causing it to become inundated with requests. If the linked site isn't built to manage that level of demand, the extra traffic can cause it to slow down or even crash.

3. Application-layer Flood

In this form of attack, an attacker simply floods the service with requests from a faked IP address in order to slow or crash. This could take the form of millions of requests per second or a few thousand requests to a resource-intensive application that eats up resources until it can't manage them anymore.

How to Prevent Denial of Service Attack?

Despite the fact that DOS attacks are a persistent threat to business organizations, there are a number of steps you can take to defend yourself both before and after an attack. It all comes down to three things when it comes to minimizing the harm of incoming attacks:

  • Preventive Measures
  • Testing DOS Attacks
  • Post-Attack Response

Preventative measures, such as network monitoring, are designed to assist you to detect attacks before they take your system offline and act as a defense against being attacked. Similarly, simulating DoS attacks allows you to enhance your overall approach while also testing your defenses against DoS attacks. Your post-attack response will decide the extent of the damage caused by a DoS attack, and it is a strategy for getting your organization back up and running following a successful attack.

How to Protect Against Denial of Service Attacks?

Many important precautions must be taken to keep your network and apps secure, but how can you defend against denial of service attacks?

Prepare for a Denial of Service Attack with These Tips:

  • To see what your system is capable of, put it to the test. Always test your volume across the Internet and evaluate your systems on a local level. You can better understand how to protect your firm against a true denial of service attack if you know what the network's breaking point is by developing your own denial of service attack.
  • Make sure your spam filters are up to date. That step may seem self-evident, but spam cannot flood your inbox if it is rejected.
  • Make sure you have enough room to manage a significant increase in server traffic. You can better assess your system's capabilities and limits by knowing and testing them to determine how far they can be pushed before crashing.
  • If you are attacked, contact your local Police field office right away. Denial of service attacks are illegal, and it's critical that you report any such attempts on your system. It will not only assist law authorities in their investigation of the crime, but it will also provide them with valuable information to help them prevent such attacks on your business and others in the future. It makes no difference whether the attack was effective or not; it is still illegal.

What is the Difference Between a DDoS attack and a DOS attack?

DDoS is a form of denial-of-service attack. They are, however, significantly diverse in terms of attack methods and severity. The following are the primary distinctions between the two types of attacks:

  • A single computer initiates a DoS attack, whereas several computers launch a DDoS attack.
  • A single IP address is used in a DoS attack to flood the network with packets. Packet influx from many IP addresses occurs in a DDoS attack, on the other hand.
  • A DoS attack is less harmful to a system, whereas a DDoS attack is extremely harmful.
  • A DoS attack is distinguished by its moderate speed, whereas a DDoS attack is distinguished by its rapid speed.

Diffrence between DOS and DDOS

Figure 1. Diffrence between DOS and DDOS

A DoS attack is simple to spot and avoid. A DDoS attack, on the other hand, is difficult to detect and avoid.

Is IP Spoofing a DoS Attack?

DoS (Denial of Service) attacks and IP Spoofing attacks frequently occur together. So, in order to comprehend how they work, we'll start at the very beginning of computer networks and try to decipher the technicality of the attack.

When an attacker uses a computer outside of your network to impersonate a trusted computer within the network, this is known as IP Spoofing.

You might think of DoS attacks as a more advanced form of IP spoofing. Unlike IP spoofing, a DOS attack does not require the attacker to wait for a response from the targeted host.

The attacker floods the system with queries, causing it to become overburdened in its response time.