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What is a “Denial of Ser­vice” attack?

Over the past few weeks, we kept reading about attacks on com­pa­nies or public insti­tu­tions left unable to con­tinue their normal oper­a­tions. Quite often, a so-called DDoS attack is behind this.

Time and again, Internet crim­i­nals manage to paralyse whole cor­po­ra­tions or admin­is­tra­tion depart­ments. Increas­ingly, this is achieved using ran­somware, i.e. a ransom or encryp­tion Trojan. Another method fre­quently used of late is the Dis­trib­uted Denial of Ser­vice attack.

A DDoS attack is a dis­trib­uted attack on a company’s web­site or server. Many devices (mostly those which are part of a bot net) bom­bard their target with innu­mer­able requests during such an attack. The result: Due to over­load, the attacked web­site or server relents to the pres­sure and is no longer avail­able, or only to a lim­ited degree. Black­mail attempts are fre­quently the reason behind DDoS attacks. If no pay­ment is made, crim­i­nals will threaten to repeat the attacks.

Unfor­tu­nately, there is no 100% sure-fire way of pro­tecting your­self against Denial of Ser­vice attacks. Com­pa­nies can use auditing ser­vices to detect DDoS attacks at an early stage and block them. Due to the dis­trib­uted nature of such attacks, this is only ever pos­sible to a cer­tain degree. Reducing the target area usu­ally helps to reduce any effects of such an attack – you can find more infor­ma­tion on this in our article “Denial-of-Ser­vice attack“ and in our “Tips for SME“ cat­e­gory.

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