You don’t have to be a tech-buff to hear the term DDoS being used in the news or being spoken about on the talk-back radio. And while you know that it is serious and it related to the internet you aren’t entirely sure what a DDoS attack is or how it works.
It Starts with Your Home Computer
That’s right – the very computer in your home which is used by you and all of your family members.
Each time that you and every other user check their emails there is a chance of seeing an email claiming that an important update needed to be downloaded or a file needed to be installed to win a large sum of money. While you may steer away from clicking the download button, this isn’t to say that everybody else is.
As soon as one of those files has been downloaded your computer is being used as part of a DDoS attack.
A Brief Understanding of How a Website Works
Each time that you and everybody else wants to visit a website you put the URL into the address bar and away you go! Almost immediately the page you are looking for is on your screen.
In the background, however, there is some high-tech work being done to ensure that you are receiving not only the right page but the right age quickly. As a general rule, the process works well.
However, if you have ever tried to view your local news station’s website during a breaking story then you know that it doesn’t always work out that way. The reason why you experience difficulties accessing websites during peak times is that there is only a finite amount of page requests a web-server can handle before it starts to struggle until eventually it falls over and the website becomes inaccessible.
How Does It All Come Together ?
In the first step when the file was downloaded, what was happening in the background was a program being installed on your computer which allows a hacker to take limited control of your computer. The important term being limited access.
Why limited? Because there isn’t anything on your computer they want? They just want to use its resources.
Consider this scenario:
- Over the course of a year, a hacker send the same email to 5 million people
- During that time, 1 million people download the file and infect their computer
- Once the hacker has accumulated a sufficient number of compromised computers they choose a website as their target.
- With this target in their sights, the hacker will command each of the infected computers under their control to attempt to visit the website.
Similar to the news website mentioned above, a web server can only handle so many requests. The primary difference is that, during a regular period of high traffic, users like yourself will stop refreshing the page and navigate to another source.
In the instance of a DDoS attack, however, the requests never stop. … Read More