Denial of Service Attacks

A recent string of attacks around the globe have put computer hackers into the international spotlight once again.  There have been speculations that the latest attacks were perpetrated by either North Korea itself, or its sympathizers, as the attack came from about a dozen IP addresses around the world.  The type of attack employed by these hackers is known as a Denial-of-Service (DOS) attack.  While this type of attack was used in this case to merely create a stir, it can be devastating if used against individuals or small businesses as well.

What is a DOS attack?

A DOS attack can come in a variety of forms, all with the purpose of causing the targeted system to become inoperable.  This is done by sending vast amounts of traffic to the intended target, consuming a vast amount of its resources, thus causing it to no longer be able to respond to legitimate traffic, or respond so slowly that it become essentially inoperable.

Email and Text Bombs

Another variety of DOS attacks are those that either only target individual people, or use an individual as a means of attacking a larger entity as a whole.  With Email Bombs, a single email address is sent multiple messages simultaneous from multiple senders, in hopes of overloading both the individuals email itself, halting productivity, as well as the server on which the email is hosted, thus halting productivity for an entire organization.  Furthermore, text bombs are also employed as a means to render the target’s phone inoperable as multiple text messages are sent from several phones simultaneously, causing the phone to become inoperable as it attempts to receive all the messages.

Who is Safe?

To be honest, no one is safe.  As you can see, these recent attacks were aimed at government websites in both The United States and South Korea, and have also been successfully used against large Internet sites such as The Pirate Bay as recent as June of this year.  However, these attacks are not commonly used against individuals and small businesses.