A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a kind of cyber attack intended to make web services and computer systems inoperative either temporarily or indefinitely by overloading targeted users with a continuous stream of incoming data packets. The term ‘distributed’ in denial of service indicates a combined attempt from a team of hackers who have the common motive of preventing normal operation of the targeted servers and web portals.
From data violations of giant businesses to shutting down of government web services, DDoS attacks have turned out to be lethal. News on cyber threats makes frequent headlines.In a case of a DDoS attack, a virus, usually a Trojan— malicious computer program that disguises as legitimate software to hack into systems—is launched and targeted towards a specific web server to besiege its usual function. Since the attack is a unified force coming from thousands of sources or even more, it is quite impossible to stop the threat by blocking individual IP addresses.
For example, shutting down access to an online e-commerce website by a group of disruptors constitutes for a DDoS attack. Breaching the security perimeter of the target is not the primary intention of a DDoS attack, it is to render services unavailable.Criminals often engage themselves in intimidating or blackmailing people or companies in return for money. However, there have been instances where a DDoS attack is used as a smokescreen to hide bigger cybercrimes.
On a broader scale, DDoS attacks are classified into three categories:
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