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Difference Between DoS Attack and DDoS Attack

As long as the internet has been around, unwanted attacks on the system and viruses have been around too.

On one hand, global intercommunication makes the internet indispensable; on the other hand, unfortunate attacks from hucksters and fraudsters have become a reality for internet users.

User data needs to protect itself from the various ways cyber criminals exploit the information for security and privacy concerns. Two of the easiest ways hackers attack an online system are Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) methods.

The debate of DoS attack Vs DDoS attack has loomed over cyberspace for a long time. We are here to elaborate on these two breaches and discuss how they differ yet are still one of the most used attacks in cyberspace.

What is a DoS attack?

DoS stands for Denial of Service, where attackers employ one computer to flood the victim’s system with massive traffic.

Next, the receiver’s server is bombarded with Transmission Control Protocol/User Datagram Protocol (TCP/UDP) packets. Finally, the server crashes down due to an unbearable load.

The system crashes and shuts down, which is the prime goal of every DoS attack. As it is an online attack, the website becomes unavailable to real users when the attack happens successfully.

Types of DoS attack

While there are multiple types of DoS attacks, here are some of the common ones used by attackers:

1. Volumetric DoS attack

As the name suggests, volumetric DoS attacks are concentrated on the network’s bandwidth. As a result, the attack consumes the target network, unavailable to the users and the connected devices.

The attacker uses volumetric attacks on networks with ICMP echo requests to such a degree that the victim’s system bandwidth is compromised and becomes unavailable for use.

In some cases, however, the receiving end of the attack might not shut down entirely but lose some of its operating edge and slowdown in function.

2. IP fragmentation DoS attack

IP Fragmentation attack sends altered network packets that the receiving network fails to reassemble and comprehend in a DoS attack.

Understandably, the network becomes bogged down due to multiple unassembled packets, eventually using up all its resources and becoming entirely out of service for legitimate use.

3. Buffer overflow DoS attacks

Mainly used by hackers to gain access to the network, Buffer overflow happens when a huge amount of data is fed to the system, which is tough to handle.

The additional data then flows to the adjacent memory space, corrupting the existing data. Thus, the system crashes, opening up a route for the hacker to gain control of the network.

4. Flooding DoS attack

Understandable from its moniker, the flooding DoS attack refers to the act of over-pouring a server with multiple connection requests and not responding after that to complete the requirement.

For instance, after sending the request to connect to the server, the attacker will refuse to respond to the connection.

After multiple such attempts, the server becomes overpowered with pending requests, eventually becoming busy or crashing down.

What is a DDoS attack?

Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS is an attack similar to DoS. The victim’s system or receiving network is flooded with traffic or requests from multiple systems across various locations.

The goal is to paralyse the receiving system or server to stop working as intended and become unavailable for real users.

Eventually, both DoS and DDoS attacks aim to isolate the victim’s computer or server from the connected devices and cease their functioning to make them unavailable.

Types of DDoS attacks

These are the types of DDoS attacks:

1. Application-based attack

Under this type of DDoS attack, the attacker targets the seven layers of the OSI model by sending partial Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) requests and leaving them unattended to a response.

HTTP requests are periodically sent to the system, engaging the network resources. This application-based attack is difficult to detect because it employs partial HTTP requests rather than sending corrupt files.

2. Ping of Death DDoS attack

The most basic type of DDoS attack is where the attacker sends multiple requests to one system from several locations.

Also called the Ping of Death attacks, they are comprised of data packets more significant than the maximum packet length and are shipped in fragments.

The receiving system’s resources are occupied in reassembling these packets, completely shutting down the server and making it unavailable to other devices.

3. User Datagram Protocol (UDP) DDoS attack

This type of DDoS attack floods a server or a system with User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packets.

The target server continues to look for an application through the port, but when it is not found, it sends back the packet as the destination is unreachable. The process consumes resources in the network, making it unavailable.

4. SYN flood DDoS attack

Under SYN Flood, the hacker uses TCP connections to make the networks unavailable. Upon receiving the SYN request, the system responds with the SYN-ACK, which goes unanswered by the attacker.

The unanswered request consumes the network’s resources, leaving it with no resources to make a new connection with any other connected device.

5. DoS attack Vs DDoS attack

Besides a minor change in their origin, both DoS and DDoS attacks employ a similar hacking mechanism and server approach. So then, what difference exists between these two?

Here are some based on DoS vs DDoS attacks:

  • DoS targets a system with a single system, whereas DDoS uses multiple systems.
  • DoS attacks originate from a central location compared to DDoS attacks from multiple locations.
  • DoS attack is slow compared to DDoS attacks.
  • The receiving server during a DoS attack can often detect and block the hacker’s system. But, the same is pretty challenging for DDoS as the attack is from various locations
  • DoS attack uses less volume of traffic and data packets as compared to DDoS attacks

How to Prevent DoS and DDoS attacks?

When discussing prevention for DoS vs DDoS attacks, you need to follow some rules that help to maximise the chances of detecting and thwarting these attacks.

They are:

  • Regular monitoring of the network
  • Running test DoS attacks
  • Having a response plan in action

Experts predict that by 2023, the average number of DDoS attacks will have risen to 15.4 million attacks annually.

This staggering expected growth of such attacks translates to nearly every business being potentially subjected to a DDoS attack at some point.

Now that you have a clear understanding of DoS attack vs DDoS attack, reinforcing your digital fortress should be at the top of your security priorities.

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