What is a DDoS attack?

DDoS stands for is “Distributed Denial of Service”. DDoS attacks are even as old as the modern internet itself.

DDoS attacks are what many regular consumers think of when it comes to “hackers” breaking into their networks. It is a quick and easy way to bring any unprepared organization to its knees. What the abbreviation DDoS stands for is “Distributed Denial of Service”. DDoS attacks are even as old as the modern internet itself. To visualize what a DDoS attack is like, think of a dam. A regular day of operations for a dam are that it holds large reservoirs of water while still letting water flow. Day by day, the dam regulates how much water can pass by. A DDoS attack is like a flash flood. Usually, an attacker or a few attackers send as much internet traffic as they can to a server or other such network location until the location (think a dam) fails (“overflows”). DDoS attacks are a great way for an attacker to weaken the defenses of their target. While many do not use this technique in high value situations, others tend to do it simply to serve as a distraction. DDoS attacks can be launched with a moment’s notice. Not only that, but it can be hard to attribute to any single person due to how it works. 

You might have been affected by a DDoS attack recently and not have even known it. As an example, if you use Twitter, chances are you might not have realized the website being down was not by accident but actually caused by a DDoS attack. Though this is not exactly common, it Is certainly not to be ignored. An attack on Dyn in 2016 was the cause of one of those Twitter service lapses. Twitter was also not the only one affected. These other big names suffered losses as well: 

  • Amazon 
  • Netflix 
  • CNN 
  • PayPal 
  • Spotify 
  • AirBnB 

The method behind it was that the attack was directed at Dyn’s DNS servers. Becoming the largest DDoS attack in recent times. With all these high-profile disruptions occurring, most want to know how to protect themselves and their websites. Should your network location be the target of an attack the size of the one which affected Dyn, mitigation would be very difficult. If it is, what you would call a “common” DDoS attack regularly seen on the internet?

Cloud DDoS mitigation.

While there are a few companies in this space, Cloudflare is one of the most popular vendors. Allowing unmetered protection to any customer who uses them. While there used to be a few methods of manual DDoS mitigation, these methods tend to not work as effectively anymore due to automated circumvention around them.