What Is a DDoS and Why Does it Matter?
Jul 27th - 2min.
A DDoS is a cyberattack in which a server or website crashes due to a deliberate overload. The abbreviation stands for "Denial of Service". In other words, a server is shut down and unreachable. Learn more...
A simple introduction in less than 300 words
A DDoS is a cyberattack in which a server or website crashes due to a deliberate overload. The abbreviation stands for "Distributed Denial of Service". In other words, a server is shut down and unreachable.
How do "hackers" pull this off?
If multiple parties open 20 million pages at the same time, websites and servers will crash. Compare a server with a person. A practical example: a person receives notes, but if someone suddenly gets too many notes, they will no longer know which piece of paper came from who and for whom it was intended. The same thing happens to a server with a DDoS attack. Because of such a sudden surge, a server, website or network is so busy with processing traffic that real website visitors can no longer access the website.
Attacks from multiple locations
With a DDoS, attacks are carried out from multiple locations or points, sometimes more than ten thousand. There are tricks for hackers to do this easily. By downloading something from the internet you get a virus (without knowing it) that performs thousands of searches from your computer. Cybercriminals infect various sub-computers with a virus and control them remotely, because of that detecting and blocking the source becomes increasingly difficult.
How can companies protect themselves?
Companies can blacklist IP addresses. A website, for example Amazon, will then no longer accept requests from you. The difficulty lies in recognizing ‘fake’ or automated website traffic that comes from a DDoS attack because it’s so similar to real traffic. Arming yourself against such cyberattacks in quite difficult and therefore expensive. There are parties such as Cloudflare that offer 'advanced DDoS protection'.
Double financial damage
With DDoS attacks, hackers can affect a lot of damage to companies with relatively few resources. If the Amazon website goes down, they lose a huge amount of money. They can't sell anything without their webshop. Besides this, organized gangs blackmail companies: in exchange for money, they will no longer execute DDoS attacks on their servers. In addition, companies are spending a lot of money on the costs of servers and cybersecurity.