What are Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks?


We know that Crypto Jacking secretly steals money, while ransomware blatantly demands it. So, what is the purpose of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks? In a nutshell, they’re trying to crash your system and stop your ability to operate. Before we delve into how a DDoS attack is executed, let’s take a look at who is behind this threat, and what they hope to accomplish.


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Who is Performing DDoS Attacks?

Most often, DDoS attacks are executed to wreak havoc (and just to see if it can be done). Because a DDoS attack is easy to organize and one of the cheapest to launch, novice hackers may use it to test their skills before moving on to bigger attacks. However, there are some other factors that may be the driving force behind a DDoS attack:

  • Political motivation. Hackers may execute a DDoS attack to spite or hurt an organization or company that they are at odds with.
  • Financial motivation. If a hacker is successful in completely bringing a network to its knees, they may demand money to disengage so that their victim can get back to business as usual. While most DDoS attacks are short in duration, some have lasted as long as 12 days making this a viable motivator.
  • Competition. While it’s a particularly nasty—and illegal—form of competing, no one ever said the business world wasn’t cutthroat.
  • Data theft. A DDoS attack may be executed to keep IT techs occupied on the “smaller picture” while the hacker’s primary goal of a larger data breach is carried out, such as ransomware or RDDoS (ransomware DDoS).

How Does a DDoS Attack Operate?

DDoS attacks occur when a cyber-criminal floods a targeted organization's network with access requests; this initially disrupts service by denying legitimate requests from actual customers, and eventually overloads the network or server until it crashes. This is where the name comes from because the normal traffic is being “denied of service.”

Criminals execute their DDoS attacks by sending out malicious code to hundreds or even thousands of computers, instructing each one to send requests to a single organization. This is usually accomplished through a botnet; a network of private computers infected with malicious software that is controlled as a group, without the knowledge of each individual owner.

One of the most troublesome aspects of DDoS attacks is how they turn the internet into an enemy. Because they’re executed as a standard function of internet architecture—one computer asking another for access—they’re difficult to see coming. They’re also tricky to prevent; organizations certainly don’t want to deny an influx of legitimate access requests while attempting to block illegitimate ones.




Who is in Danger of a DDoS Attack?

Many assume that hackers go after only high-profile companies or entities to make headlines; and of course, sometimes they do. Recently, a whole attack campaign was targeted on the entire country of New Zealand.

However, many DDoS attacks are of the small, low-threshold variety. Despite their small stature, these organizations still house lots of valuable data, including personal and financial information, that can be stolen and sold on the black market. Additionally, hackers may use a DDoS attack to mask a much larger data breach.

The Downtime Factor

If the DDoS attack isn’t being executed to pilfer money or mask a more serious data breach, isn’t it little more than a nuisance? Not when you consider downtime. Most organizations estimate that downtime could cost on average 5,600 per minute. While the majority of DDoS attacks often last ten minutes or less, that could still cost you $56,000 per attack (that’s right, per attack). Studies show that in 2021, companies faced a 29% increase in DDoS attacks; meaning downtime fears are not going away anytime soon. If you would like to get a more accurate picture of how much downtime would cost your organization, answer some questions here with our Downtime Calculator.

Discovering a DDoS Solution with DSM

Cisco estimates that by 2023, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks will grow to 15.4 million. It’s highly recommended to prepare now if you haven’t already. For many organizations, an IT solutions provider offering high levels of cybersecurity, including firewalls and threat monitoring software, maybe the best bet when it comes to quashing DDoS attacks. Reputable IT solutions providers also offer network redundancy, duplicating copies of your data, systems, and equipment so that if your service becomes corrupted or unavailable due to a DDoS attack, you can immediately switch to secure access on backed-up versions without missing a beat.

If you’re still asking yourself, “How do I prevent a DDoS attack on my business?”, contact our experts to learn more about how we protect clients from these attacks. And if you intend to go it alone, remember, the next time you see an influx of traffic it may not be a good thing, you may be facing a DDoS attack.

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DDoS Infographic







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