What is a Denial of Service Attack?

09/01/2020 | by SandStorm IT

Denial of Service Attack

A Denial of Service (DoS) attack is an attack on an individual computer or network that aims to consume as many resources as possible. The main goal of this attack is to deny service to the legitimate users of the computer or network. There are a number of ways in which this can be accomplished, as well as many different ways to defend against these attacks. Many attackers, especially those involved in organized crime, utilize DoS attacks with the intention of extorting their victims for money.

What is a DDoS Attack?

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a category of DoS attacks that work by leveraging the power of many different networked computers. These attacks aim to “flood” the victim’s computer or network with excessive amounts of data so that all of the computing resources are unavailable for legitimate users. Oftentimes, DDoS attacks are executed by a “botnet”, which is a group of compromised computers that all fall under the control of an attacker. The number of attacking computers is the main difference between DoS and DDoS attacks.

How Can I Defend Against a DoS Attack?

Defending against DoS attacks can be tricky since there are many different ways for an attacker to hog the resources of a computer or network. For regular DoS attacks, staying up-to-date on software/firmware updates, including the operating system, on the computers and network devices in your network will go a long way in preventing many of these attacks from occurring, since many of these attacks rely on vulnerabilities in older software. For DDoS attacks, analysis of the traffic can help determine which users are legitimate and which are not. A properly configured firewall also goes a long way in protecting against DoS attacks. If you have questions about configuring your firewall, you can contact a technology provider such as SandStorm IT for assistance.

To recap, here are a few highlights on how to defend against a DoS attack:

  • Make sure you have the latest Operating System and Software updates
  • Make sure all equipment has the latest firmware installed, especially true with routers, firewalls, and other networking hardware.
  • For advanced users and network admins, you can analyze the traffic to determine the origin and possible intent of the traffic.
  • A properly configured firewall is a vital asset to help filter out some of the undesired traffic.

If you have any questions about DDoS attacks or any other IT security question, please feel free to call the experts at SandStorm IT at 901-475-0275. We will do our best to assist with any questions you may have.

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