In computing, a denial-of-service (Dos) attack is an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or indefinitely interrupting services of a host’s connection to the internet. A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) is where the attack source is more than one–and often thousands of-unique IP addresses. DoS attacks tend to be pretty uncommon these days, instead, DDoS attacks that come from multiple computers distributed across multiple online locations have grown in popularity as they are much harder to combat and filter by simply blocking the traffic coming from particular machines or IP’s.
DDoS attacks can be launched for a range of reasons from political motivation to general cyber vandalism. In 2007 for example, a bombardment of traffic knocked government and media sites in Estonia offline and was later found to be a result of Russian nationalists who were angry about Estonia’s decision to relocate a Soviet war monument in Tallinn from the centre of the city to a military cemetery. More recently, in 2015, Anonymous targeted ISIS online presence following the terrorist attack against Paris. There have also been notable hacks in the gaming industry mainly due to disgruntled players but there have also been a number of paid for DDoS services pop up that can target a competitor’s game.
Essentially a DDOS attack floods your website/server with traffic until it can’t cope and it’s hard to protect against as it can be difficult to distinguish the attackers’ traffic from legitimate traffic. Although DDoS attacks are an annoyance to users and can potentially cost a business lost sales during the time that access is being denies to their users they are not normally financially motivated and rarely cause any permanent damage, the problem with these attacks however is that they can also often act as a smokescreen for more malicious attacks.
At Nimbus, we usually spot the traffic surge on our monitoring if your site does come under a DDoS attack. Once detected we will work to mitigate this attack on our network and with our upstream providers and contact the client. If the attack persists or repeats, you’d need to look at an Anti-DDoS service, which we’ll be able to advise you on.