How Many Types of DDoS Attacks?

In recent years, there has been a notable transformation in the landscape of cyberattacks. Apart from conventional risks such as data breaches, malware, and ransomware, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have increasingly targeted weaknesses within contemporary public and private cloud infrastructure and networking protocols.
DDoS attacks remain a favored technique among hackers for disrupting services due to their straightforward nature. Numerous studies suggest that a significant number of organizations are ill-equipped to defend against a Denial of Service attack, thus posing a potential risk to cloud computing.
Continue reading to gain further insights into DDoS attacks.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the regular functioning of a network, service, website, or online platform by overwhelming it with a flood of internet traffic. In a DDoS attack, multiple compromised devices or systems are used to generate a massive volume of requests or data traffic, targeting a single target or multiple targets simultaneously.
The key characteristics of a DDoS attack include:
Distributed Nature
Unlike a traditional Denial of Service (DoS) attack, which is carried out from a single source, DDoS attacks involve multiple sources or “bots” that may be geographically distributed. These bots are often compromised computers, servers, or Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are under the control of the attacker.
Overwhelming Traffic
The primary goal of a DDoS attack is to overwhelm the target’s resources, such as bandwidth, server capacity, or network infrastructure. This excessive traffic can lead to a complete or partial loss of service, rendering the target inaccessible to legitimate users.
Variety of Attack Vectors
DDoS attacks can take various forms, including HTTP/HTTPS flooding, UDP flooding, SYN/ACK flooding, DNS amplification, and more. Attackers choose the attack vector based on their objectives and the vulnerabilities of the target.
Mitigating and defending against DDoS attacks often involves using specialized DDoS mitigation services, traffic filtering, rate limiting, and other techniques to distinguish between legitimate and malicious traffic. These countermeasures aim to ensure the availability and stability of online services despite the attack. Organizations need to have DDoS protection strategies in place to minimize the impact of such attacks on their operations.
Hackers often prefer Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks for several reasons:
1.Ease of Execution: DDoS attacks are relatively simple to carry out. Attackers don’t need advanced hacking skills or extensive technical knowledge. They can rent or control a network of compromised devices (botnets) and use readily available DDoS tools to launch attacks.
2.Low Cost: Setting up a DDoS attack is often cost-effective for hackers. Botnets can be rented or hijacked, and the tools required for the attack are readily available on the dark web or through underground forums.
3.Disruption: DDoS attacks can have a significant impact on the target’s online services. By flooding the target with a massive traffic volume, the attacker can render the services inaccessible to legitimate users. This disruption can cause financial losses, damage an organization’s reputation, and be used as a distraction from other malicious activities.
It’s important to note that while DDoS attacks can be disruptive and damaging, they are also illegal in most jurisdictions. Organizations must take steps to defend against DDoS attacks, and law enforcement agencies work to identify and prosecute those responsible for such attacks.
There are several types of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, each with its own characteristics and methods. Here are some common types of DDoS attacks:
1.Volumetric Attacks: These attacks aim to overwhelm a target’s network bandwidth by sending a massive volume of traffic. They can saturate the target’s internet connection, making legitimate traffic unable to reach its destination. Examples include UDP flooding and ICMP flooding.
2.TCP State Exhaustion Attacks: These attacks focus on exploiting the stateful nature of TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). By initiating a large number of TCP connections, attackers can exhaust the target’s resources, such as available ports or memory, rendering the service inaccessible.
3.Application Layer Attacks: Also known as Layer 7 attacks, these target the application layer of the OSI model. They aim to exhaust the server’s processing capacity by sending a high volume of requests that mimic legitimate user interactions. Examples include HTTP/HTTPS flooding and Slowloris attacks.
4.Protocol Attacks: These attacks exploit weaknesses in networking protocols, such as the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) and the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Attackers can flood the target with malformed or excessive protocol-specific packets, causing service disruptions.
5.DNS Amplification Attacks: Attackers send a small DNS query to a vulnerable DNS server, which then responds with a much larger reply, effectively amplifying the attack traffic. This can lead to a massive traffic flood directed at the target.
6.NTP Amplification Attacks: Similar to DNS amplification, Network Time Protocol (NTP) amplification attacks exploit vulnerable NTP servers to amplify the attack traffic.
7.SYN/ACK Attacks: These attacks exploit the TCP three-way handshake process. Attackers send a flood of SYN (synchronize) packets, overwhelming the target’s resources as it attempts to establish connections.
8.HTTP Flood Attacks: Attackers send a high volume of legitimate-looking HTTP requests to a web server, overwhelming its resources and making it unavailable to legitimate users.
9.Slowloris Attacks: This attack type sends a large number of partial HTTP requests, keeping them open without completing them. Holding numerous connections open, it can exhaust the web server’s available resources.
10.Ping Flood Attacks: Attackers send a flood of ping requests (ICMP Echo Requests) to a target, consuming its network bandwidth and potentially causing network congestion.
11.Zero-Day Attacks: These attacks exploit vulnerabilities in network devices, operating systems, or software for which there are no known patches or fixes. They can be especially damaging because they target unpatched vulnerabilities.
12.Application Layer Attacks: These attacks focus on targeting specific applications or services, often exploiting vulnerabilities unique to the application being targeted.
DDoS attacks can combine elements from different types to create more sophisticated and effective attack strategies. To defend against these attacks, organizations typically use a combination of mitigation techniques, including traffic filtering, rate limiting, and the use of specialized DDoS mitigation services.
Various other categories of DDoS attacks exist, and they undergo ongoing evolution. Hackers and malicious actors have found numerous methods to exploit vulnerabilities in applications, servers, and systems.
However, there are highly dependable security solutions in place. Many cloud service providers are proactively adopting advanced cloud security measures to safeguard business, enterprise, and private clouds from a diverse range of cyber threats, including DDoS attacks.