Distributed Denial of Service Attacks — How and Why

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Anonymous , that vaguely defined world-wide network of hackers took a lot of Canadian government websites down recently, amonge those affected – the House of Commons, Canada.ca, Transport Canada ,the Senate, Justice Canada Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration.
Why? They don’t like bill C-51.
How did they do it? – they used a Distributed Denial of Service attack!
It meant these government agencies were unavailable, and some employees of the government couldn’t get their email, access their Blackberry’s or get on the internet. The DDoS attack lasted about 4 hours.
DDoS attacks try to use up the resources available on network servers. They monopolize CPU cycles, memory resources, disc storage and bandwidth until the servers affected can no longer cope. They may make more requests than a server can cope with, or may get fancy and use DNS services to expand the damage, and also help to disguise the source of the attack.
A DDoS attack is almost impossible to prevent without prior warning.
You can try to filter traffic from the attack source, or move your DNS to get out from under the attack but the reality is that there is little that can be practically done to prevent these types of attacks. Good monitoring, and vigilance are the best defence! A DDoS attack can target any site on the internet, at any time.
.Lexicom is analysing and monitoring our server traffic constantly, looking for the unusual and the malicious.
Unfortunately, we expect these types of attacks to increase, as “kiddie hackers” acquire the tools to launch such attacks.
Why do they do it? To say they can, to make a point, as a form of civil disobedience, a grudge against a firm or person, unfortunately rational behaviour is generally not part of the process.