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Blog Post Oct 15, 2020

DoS vs DDoS: What Is the Difference Between These Cyber Attacks?

DoS and DDoS are two very common types of attacks to website systems that anyone with an online presence needs to be aware of. The difference between the two comes down to the number of attackers. Denial of Service (DoS) attacks come from a single attacker; Distributed Denial or Service (DDoS) attacks are conducted by multiple machines.

Learn more about the differences, as well as similarities, between these types of cyber attacks and how to protect your business from both.

There are 2 ways that a DoS attack can be deployed.

Denial of Service Attacks

DoS attacks come from a single computer, and the hacker’s goal is to make the victim’s network or website unavailable.

How? By flooding a single system with more bot requests that it can normally handle, or trying to consume a system’s server and network resources so that other legitimate users cannot be served. These flood attacks are designed to slow down or even crash your website so that it is not functional.

The two main types of DoS attacks include:
  1. Application layer attacks, or “Layer 7 attacks,” send many requests to the target server as quickly as possible so that the server cannot handle any more requests.
  2. Network attacks try to dominate a website’s bandwidth so that it cannot serve any other users. It should be noted that this form of DoS attack is becoming less common due to improved security systems. Most firewalls can pinpoint the source of a network attack and shut down that one client.

Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

In a DDoS attack, many machines are assembled to conduct the attack and flood the target’s IP address. There are multiple types of DDoS attacks and ways to carry out such attacks. For example, many users of smart home devices are not securing their systems by changing the default passwords. A hacker can quite easily tap into the targeted systems and take control of all of the smart devices. This is a simple way to create what is called a “botnet,” or a group of computers acting in unison.

Even worse, some botnet operators are actually renting out the use of their malicious systems to others, creating a cottage industry of botnet developers who make money by selling illegal access to computer systems to others who can then rent the botnet without going through the work of building one themselves.

Who is Conducting These Attacks?

There are many different types of cybercriminals that might conduct such attacks. Often, individual hackers or even hacking groups, such as Anonymous, will conduct DDoS attacks to avenge a perceived wrong done by a company.

In the case of Anonymous, the hackers target companies that they have political problems with. Major websites and services, such as PayPal and Wikipedia, have fallen victim to DDoS attacks from these groups in recent years.

DoS & DDoS Protection and Mitigation

You might be tempted to throw in the towel when you hear that not even a behemoth like PayPal can stop an attack. But you would be wrong.

While it is true that hackers are always developing new ways to attack online properties and services, those who aim to protect web applications from attacks are also working hard to stay one step ahead.

Sectigo is one of them, with its SiteLock Website Security Plans. With a SiteLock plan in place you can rest assured that your server is going to have state-of-the-art protection from both DoS and DDoS attacks.

Companies that are proactive in their security are the ones that can survive attacks once they develop. Take charge of your online security and protect your website with a strong firewall to avoid being the next target.

Protect Against Attacks Today