You might have wondered yourself: “ What is a DDoS attack ?” after having heard the term many times when surfing the Internet. What you don’t know is: not only websites are a target, but you are one also.
What is a DoS attack? (Denial of Service attack)
In a DoS attack, hackers try to prevent users to access a website or any online service. The target can be a single PC, a server, or a website service. You won’t be able to access your email, websites or online accounts during a DoS attack.
The most popular and common DoS type is when an attacker tries to flood your network connection by sending you or your server big amounts of data. When you type in the URL of a particular website, you only send one request to the server. The server can only handle a certain number of requests at once, so if an attacker sends too many, it will be overwhelmed and will deny your services. Therefore, the attack is called “Denial of Service”.
What is a DDoS attack? (Distributed Denial of Service attack)
In a DDoS attack, attackers don’t just use his PC; he exploits or lawfully makes use of other computers. With the help of vulnerabilities in applications, a hacker can hijack your computer. This computer can then be used to send a large amount of data to a server or many spam emails to a particular address. A network of these infected computers is called a “botnet
”. “Distributed” means that the attacker is using many computers, distributing the sources of data over a wider area.
How to avoid a DDoS attack?
It is unfortunate that there is yet to be a fully effective method to stop DoS or DDoS from affecting you, your websites or your company’s system. There are, however, these steps that you can follow to lower your chance of becoming another victim.
- Install and update frequently your antivirus software
- Install a Firewall and configure it to limit input and output traffic
- Utilize security practices to filter your email inbox
How to know that a DDoS is happening?
Not all denial of service is a result of a DoS attack. There might be technical problems occurring in a particular network or the administrator is carrying out maintenance. These symptoms, however, shows that a DOS or DDoS attack is targeting a website or system:
- Abnormal slowdown of the network or system (when opening files or accessing the website)
- A particular page is not accessible
- No page is accessible
- A very significant number of new spam mail in your inbox
What to do in the case of a DDoS attack?
Even if you accurately identify a DoS or DDoS attack, you are not 100% sure of: what is the attacked target (if you are part of a botnet) or what is the source of the attack (if you are the target). Contact an expert to receive support:
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- If you cannot access your private files or any websites from your computer, contact your administrator. This can help you know if your computer or your company’s system is being attacked or not.
- If you have your own knowledge of the issue, consider contacting your ISP (Internet Service Provider). If there are any issues with your system, ISPs can give you advice on what appropriate measures to take.