Understanding DDoS Attacks: What Happens When Your Website Falls Victim

    skycentral.co.uk | Understanding DDoS Attacks: What Happens When Your Website Falls Victim

    Understanding DDoS Attacks: What Happens When Your Website Falls Victim

    In today’s digitized world, websites have become the forefront of businesses, organizations, and individuals alike, serving as a virtual window to the world. However, this reliance on the internet also exposes websites to various cyber threats, one of which is Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

    What is a DDoS Attack?

    A DDoS attack is an attempt to disrupt the regular functioning of a website or online service by overwhelming it with an excessive amount of traffic from multiple sources, rendering it inaccessible to its intended users. These attacks can be compared to a traffic jam on a highway, where malicious actors flood the network infrastructure and exhaust its resources, making it impossible for legitimate users to reach the website.

    Traditionally, a single computer or a small group of computers were used to launch DDoS attacks, but now the attackers utilize a botnet — a network of compromised computers or IoT devices. This allows attackers to amplify the scale and intensity of attacks by coordinating numerous sources simultaneously.

    Understanding the Types of DDoS Attacks

    DDoS attacks can take different forms, targeting various layers of a website’s infrastructure. Let’s explore some common types:

    1. Network Layer Attacks

    These attacks aim to overwhelm the bandwidth or network resources, hindering the proper functioning of the website. Examples of network layer attacks include UDP floods, ICMP floods, and SYN floods. UDP floods involve sending a large number of User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packets to consume network capacity, while ICMP and SYN floods exploit vulnerabilities in network protocols like Internet Control Message Protocols (ICMP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), respectively.

    2. Application Layer Attacks

    Application layer attacks target vulnerabilities in web applications or specific components of the website. These attacks are generally difficult to detect, as they resemble legitimate website requests. Examples of application layer attacks include HTTP floods, where attackers exploit the HTTP protocol to flood a website with excessive HTTP requests, and Slowloris attacks, which exploit the limitations in web server resources by keeping multiple connections partially open, thereby exhausting the server’s capacity to handle new connections.

    3. Volumetric Attacks

    Volumetric attacks focus on overwhelming the online service’s bandwidth by generating a massive amount of traffic simultaneously. This is usually achieved through botnets, where a network of compromised devices is used to flood a target. Volumetric attacks typically employ techniques like DNS amplification attacks, which exploit the vulnerability of DNS servers to respond with amplified traffic to a target.

    4. Protocol Attacks

    Protocol attacks exploit shortcomings in network protocols to disrupt the targeted website. These attacks can exploit vulnerabilities in routing protocols, such as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), or exploit the way network devices handle the Internet Protocol (IP). By overwhelming routers or network devices with maliciously crafted packets, protocol attacks can impair the website’s accessibility.

    What Happens When Your Website Falls Victim?

    When a website is under a DDoS attack, the consequences can be severe. Here is a breakdown of what happens:

    1. Disruption of User Experience

    Under a DDoS attack, a website becomes slow or completely unresponsive. This means that legitimate users, who are trying to access the website to get information, make purchases, or engage with the online service, are unable to do so. Consequently, the website’s reputation and brand image suffer, leading to potential financial losses and customer dissatisfaction.

    2. Diminished Customer Trust

    When a website experiences repeated downtime due to DDoS attacks, customers gradually lose trust in its reliability and may question the security measures in place. This erosion of trust can have long-lasting effects, causing customers to shift their allegiance to competitors and impacting the website’s credibility.

    3. Financial Implications

    DDoS attacks can have significant financial implications for websites. The loss of potential business during downtime, coupled with the costs associated with mitigating attacks and implementing enhanced security measures to prevent future incidents, can strain a website’s budget. Small businesses and startups, in particular, may face severe challenges during such attacks.

    4. Damage to SEO and Search Rankings

    Long periods of website downtime can lead to a decline in search engine rankings, affecting the website’s visibility and discoverability. Search engines like Google prioritize user experience, and websites that are frequently inaccessible due to DDoS attacks are likely to be penalized. Moreover, the time and resources spent on recovering from attacks could have been allocated to enhancing the website’s SEO and usability, further hampering its organic growth.

    Protecting Your Website Against DDoS Attacks

    While it may seem daunting, there are proactive measures you can take to safeguard your website from DDoS attacks:

    1. DDoS Protection Services

    Consider investing in a reputable DDoS protection service that can detect and mitigate attacks in real-time. These services employ advanced algorithms and filtering techniques to separate legitimate traffic from malicious traffic, ensuring that your website remains accessible to genuine users even during an attack.

    2. Load Balancing and Scaling Up

    By deploying load balancers and scaling up your website’s infrastructure, you can distribute the traffic evenly across multiple servers, preventing any single server from being overwhelmed. This ensures uninterrupted access to your website even during high traffic or a potential DDoS attack.

    3. Regular Security Audits and Updates

    Conduct regular security audits to identify and address vulnerabilities in your website’s infrastructure and applications. Stay updated with the latest security patches and software versions to prevent exploitation of known weaknesses. Regularly monitor your network for any unusual traffic patterns that may indicate a potential DDoS attack.

    4. Incident Response Planning

    Develop an incident response plan in collaboration with your IT team and security professionals. This plan should outline the steps to be taken during an attack, including communication protocols, contact details of relevant parties, and backup and recovery strategies. By having a well-defined plan in place, you can minimize the duration and impact of any potential DDoS attack.


    While DDoS attacks can be disruptive and damaging, understanding the types of attacks and implementing appropriate security measures can help protect your website from falling victim. By investing in robust DDoS protection services, maintaining a proactive approach towards security, and ensuring you have an incident response plan, you can minimize the impact of DDoS attacks and maintain the accessibility and trustworthiness of your website in the digital landscape.

    Remember, prevention is key when it comes to DDoS attacks, so stay vigilant and take the necessary steps to safeguard your online presence.