Nowadays, the term DDoS probably raises the heart rate of most webmasters. Though many don’t know exactly what a DDoS attack is, they do know the effect: an extremely sluggish or shut-down website.
In this article, we’ll focus on how to know if your website is under attack and how to protect it.
Hopefully, we can help you handle DDoS attacks without having a full blown meltdown.
What is a DDoS Attack?
DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. Like the name implies, a DDoS attack focuses on damaging a service such as:
- a website
- an internet service provider (ISP)
- the Nasdaq Stock Market
- a NASA probe
- a game server
Practically anything connected to the internet is a potential target.
The same goes for the source of DDoS attacks: Common culprits include hacked web servers and “internet of things” devices like smart appliances, routers, and even CCTV cameras.
Causes can be accidental or intentional. But a large criminal industry has grown around offering DDoS attacks as a service. There’s a market for attacks on sites, including competitors looking to tarnish others’ reputations and those denying online presence for political reasons.
A DDoS attack simply works like this: An attacker uses a number of machines across the internet (or what’s called a “botnet”). Those machines send a high volume of fake traffic to the target site, all in an attempt to overload server resources and bring the site down.
There are many types and sizes of DDoS attacks and they can be devastating regardless of their size. Even an attack from a single system (DoS) can paralyze a site, so consider the ruthless efficiency of a multi-system attack through DDoS. A powerful DDoS can be as tiny as one request per second, and it can still have devastating effects on a website.
Some services are specifically targeted. Interestingly though, the process is largely automated, and most sites affected are randomly selected. Of course, this doesn’t matter if you’re a target. Regardless of the reason, the results can be detrimental, especially for an ecommerce website.
If you want to know more about the types of DDoS attacks, read our guide on what…