DoS Attacks – Unruly weapon of Cyber Warfare

DoS Attacks – Unruly weapon of Cyber Warfare

DoS attacks have been one of the most prominent attacks in the arsenal of cyber-attacks and unethical hacking. These attacks are becoming more potent and dangerous with the constantly evolving misuse of technology.  

A Denial-of-Service or DoS attack occurs when legitimate users from accessing specific computer systems or devices, hampers the communication between these users and other IT services. Imagine, a store’s entry being crowded by people who don’t want to buy anything but are blocking the entry gates, disrupting the store’s trade. During a DoS attack, the user is unable to make use of the network resources that are made available by the platform. This attack disrupts the services of the host of the internet so that the transactions or information requests cannot be fulfilled.  

How does it happen?  

A DoS attack takes place by flooding the targeted machine or network with many redundant requests that tend to overload systems and clog the system. This flooding of requests prevents some or all legitimate requests from being fulfilled. Flooding of superfluous requests continues to take place until the system stops responding to these requests and crashes. The main goal of these attacks is to ensure that the system or the network crashes, so the service requests are not fulfilled.  

Unlike other attacks, these attacks do not depend on any kind of malware or viruses. It makes use of the existing vulnerability of the networks. Every system that connects to the network, sends a packet. The packet can work as a, “Let me in” for the network. Once the network receives this request, it tends to respond by allowing the system to establish the connection with the network and make use of the resources that the network can provide.  

In the case of a DoS attack, thousands of these packets are bombarded on to the network. Thus, the network tries to respond to all these superfluous requests. Before the network could finish responding, another batch of thousands of requests is bombarded on it. This constantly happens until the network crashes and fails to respond to the genuine requests, leading to a service outage. 

                                                                                                                                                      Credits – Stratosphere Networks                                                                                                       


DDoS Attack – The master of all DoS attacks  

DDoS attacks stand for Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks. DDoS is like a computer-driven, zombie apocalypse, that cannot be contained or controlled. The impact can be only minimized by mitigation. These attacks happen when the target is attacked or exploited by using multiple machines in a distributive manner. It is a large-scale DoS attack where the attacker uses more than one-unique hosts. This attack targets the victim by attacking with several distributed machines that create an exponentially larger impact & destruction. There are several advantages attached to DDoS attacks, some of them include –  

  • Attackers usually leverage the greater volume of machine to execute a seriously disruptive attack, that can leave a lasting impact on the company and its systems.  
  • Tracking the location of origins of the attack is very difficult. This happens due to the random distribution of attacking systems, that can often spread across the globe.  
  • Since numerous machines are involved, it becomes difficult & consumes a lot of time in shutting all of them down.  
  • The actual attacker cannot be traced accurately because of the presence of several compromised systems that are used for the attacks.  

As the technologies have evolved, mechanisms to tackle the modern-day DoS attacks and its various forms have also surfaced. But the widespread magnitude of DDoS attacks is considered as an elevated threat towards information security.  


DOS Prevention Measures  

In 2021, 3.1 Million DDoS attacks of over 1 GBPS will target various organizations of the world. To prevent the danger, here are some precautionary measures that can help in avoiding the attack & reducing the overall impact, in case of an attack. 

  1. Buy more bandwidth – A DoS resistant network can be implemented when more bandwidth is provided. This ensures that you have a certain amount of bandwidth, at quick disposal when you’re under attack.  
  1. Build Redundancy – A good load balancing system for your data, that is spread across multiple data centres makes it hard for attackers to attack. This distribution ensures that only a portion of the server is under attack and the rest of them can handle the extra load of traffic.  
  1. Deploy a DDoS protection Appliance – DDoS Protection can be effectively done by deploying security solutions offered by Bulwark CyberX. This is done using several techniques, traffic behavioural baselining and then blocking abnormal traffic, and blocking traffic based on known attack signatures. 


Credits – Link11 Network 


 Most Famous DDoS Attacks  

Imperva – 2 Tbps  

One of the clients of Imperva was under attack in April 2019. They had managed to sustain an attack of 580 million packets per second, which has been the largest recorded DDoS attack by volume. This has been one of the cases where the attacks were dodged as a mitigation appliance was used.  

In the case of cyber-attacks, a strong network and an action can help in thwarting an attack.  

GitHub – 1.35 Tbps  

In February 2018, one of the most famous DDoS attacks was targeted over GitHub – a popular platform for developers across the globe, sending packets at a rate of 126.9 million per second.   

This attack took place over the servers’ database caching system known as Memcached. The server was flooded with requests that led to amplification of the attack. The systems were alerted within 10 minutes of the attack and the mitigation of servers started immediately. The attack could only last for 20 minutes. 

Quick incident response can save the data, time and reputation of a company.  

 CloudFlare – 500 Gbps 

In 2014, CloudFlare, a security & content delivery system was heavily impacted by a DDoS attack. The attack occurred when one of its client’s server was slammed with 400 Gbps of traffic, that impacted the entire system.  

The attack took place because it took advantage of the Network-Time Protocol Vulnerability. NTP is the network protocol of the computer-clock synchronization. Attackers used the “mirror technique” to replicate & amplify the traffic that leads to system crash.  


Analysis of vulnerabilities can help in identifying the loopholes, that can be mitigated to avoid the danger of being attacked.  

‘A stitch in time saves nine’ – this classic saying is prevalent in today’s technology-driven world. Taking precautions and ensuring a rock-solid security strategy can help you and your company is securing its information assets along with its reputation.  

Bulwark CyberX aims to secure and protect your information, People & Reputation.