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What is DoS (Denial of Service) Attack?

DoS attack has taken forms to attack target systems! Read, our tech-story to know what is it about and how it operates.

You must have come across DoS Attack (Denial of Service Attack). This form of attack is quite prevalent these days in the networking world. We will discuss about the attack and its various forms and also explain briefly how they work.

Denial of Service Attack

DoS attack relies on overloading the network traffic and bringing it down to non-functional state to disable service to legitimate users of a network, system or a server. In its basic form the attacker uses one single system or a network to carry out the attack to a target. This can be handled by blacklisting the attacker IP, after identifying that the system is generating a traffic which is not genuine.

Also Read: How to Hide Your IP Address Online

Distributed Denial of Service

But the story doesn’t end here. More advanced form of this attack is called DDoS attack or Distributed Denial of Service. In this attack, the attack is generated from a number of systems located at different networks thereby making the network appear much genuine. And IP blacklisting will be much more difficult as DDoS attack involves a lot of IPs from different networks; The systems are maliciously controlled by the attacker. A slight mistake in blacklisting will serve the same purpose that the attack is meant for – by stopping service to genuine user.

For those who want to read a little more in-depth, some common methods used for DoS or DDoS attacks with brief descriptions are given below:-

1. SYN Flood Attack – The sender transmits a volume of connections which cannot be completed.

2. Ping of Death (Ping Flood Attack) – Attacker deliberately sends an IP packet larger than the 65,536 bytes allowed by the IP protocol. One of the features of TCP/IP is fragmentation; it allows a single IP packet to be broken down into smaller segments. Two decades back, attackers exploited the TCP/IP feature by breaking down packets into fragments which added up to over the allowed 65,536 bytes. Many operating systems froze, crashed, or rebooted after receiving the huge packet.

3. Teardrop Attack - Fragmented packets are forged to overlap each other when the receiving host tries to reassemble them, and the reassembling will fail over and over again and freeze the system.

4. Traffic attacks – The attacker sends a huge volume of TCP, UDP and ICPM packets to the target and genuine user requests cannot be responded.

5. Bandwidth attacks – The attack overloads the target with huge meaningless data resulting in jamming the network bandwidth and equipment resources and subsequently a complete denial of service.

6. Application attacks - Application-layer data messages designed to deplete application layer capability.

Also Read: Hide Data In Video, Image And Audio Files - Steganography

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