What is a DDoS attack?

When a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack occurs, a flood of data is sent all at once through a network of computers to a server. The server under attack is unable to process this information and hence it will go offline or be difficult to access temporarily.

How does a DDoS attack work?

In order to carry out a DDoS attack, a network of computers is needed which will send data to the servers. This network is referred to as a botnet. These are often hacked computers of innocent users, which are then used to carry out the attacks. In addition, IoT devices are also used increasingly in DDoS attacks. This involves devices that are connected to the internet, such as security cameras, baby monitors, as well as smart energy metres, being misused in a DDoS attack in order to bring down other platforms. A good example of this was the attack that took place via the Mirai botnet. That involved the provider Dyn being attacked and popular websites, such as GitHub, Netflix, Spotify and Twitter, becoming difficult to access or losing their accessibility entirely.

What are the consequences of a DDoS attack?

A DDoS attack may lead to your website or application being temporarily inaccessible. That is not only a real nuisance for your clients, but it can also cause losses to your revenue. This could lead to substantial financial damage for an e-tailer if subjected to a DDoS attack in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Moreover, a DDoS attack may bring with it negative publicity, which could damage your reputation.

A DDoS attack is not a hack in other terms, whereby the attackers are intending to steal data from your company. However, a DDoS attack can be used as part of a larger plan for causing damage. The cyber criminals behind the attack may, for example, send a phishing email to clients containing the request to log in once again and in that way steal the log-in data. The consequences of such an occurrence are infamous.

How can you protect yourself against a DDoS attack?

Computest has developed a unique test, whereby we carry out a controlled DDoS attack during which we simulate a group of users on your application. This will allow you to find out exactly how vulnerable your security is, and also what the impact of the attack might have on your infrastructure and users’ experience as the scale of the attack increases. You will then be able to take action in order to reduce the effect.

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