What Is a DDOS Attack?


Quick Answer

A DDoS attack is an attempt to make a website or web service unavailable by flooding the server with traffic and data. DDoS is an abbreviation for Distributed Denial of Service. DDoS attacks cause one out of three "downtime incidents," according to Digital Attack Map.

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Full Answer

DDoS attacks start by infecting a group of computers with a silent malicious code. This large group of connected computers is known as a botnet. When the attack begins, the botnet floods a specific site with traffic, usually without the user's consent or knowledge. The large amount of traffic is enough to temporarily shut down even the most advanced and secure networks, such as banking websites and social platforms. Some attacks are so high profile that they can overwhelm an entire country's cable connection.

Types of DDoS attacks vary, but the main goal is to max out a server or network so that users can no longer access or use a website or network. Some DDoS attacks flood a server with more connection requests than it can handle. Some even upload large amounts of data to the website in order to overwhelm the servers. It is very important to protect a computer against this type of malicious code. The code can not only allow a hacker to take full control of a computer, but when the DDoS attack is traced back, it can make an innocent computer user appear to be a large scale hacker to the authorities.

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