A computer hacker can sometimes use a network of zombie devices and computers to bring down a targeted server or website. The operation simply works when the cracker commands all the zombie devices to repeatedly contact the targeted site. The victim then receives an overload of traffic that ends up slowing down the site – sometimes the traffic is too much to close the site completely. This kind of hacking is referred to as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The attacker can spam a server or website with so much data that it forces them to shut down within a very short time. Websites with a bandwidth cap can close down almost immediately. You’ll need quite a lot of computers to close a website or you could repeatedly lag the few zombies you have.
Here is how to DDos: the crackers assemble an army of zombie computers and initiate a command to attack. Each zombie computer in the army then connects with uncorrupted computers (who are not aware they are being used as bait) called reflectors. The purpose of using reflectors is to hide the identity of the attacker. The request sent from the zombie computers look legitimate to the reflector and appear to have originated from the zombie and not the cracker. The reflectors will innocently send information to the victim’s computer system. Since the data comes from many different reflectors and distributed in multiples, the victim’s computer performance suffers.
The target victim thinks that the reflector initiated the attack and the reflector knows that the zombie system requested the packets. The amazing thing is that the zombie computers remain hidden and the cracker is completely out of the scene.
To DDoS, you’ll need to buy the software which is available from different download websites. Download the software and extract it from your desktop. Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) is one DDoS software example. Once you open the software, you’ll be directed by a screen prompter. Fill the box that asks you to select your target by inserting the website address or the IP number and press the lock button. Select attack options and enter a random message and choose your speed. Finally, fire the laser and you’ll see a column of attack status which indicates the number of times it has requested from the target site.
DDos come in different names with some affecting the target mildly while others are very disturbing.
- Mail bomb – these crackers attack email servers by sending massive amounts of emails.
- Ping of Death – the hacker creates large electronic packets and distributes them to victims.
- Teardrop – small illegitimate packets are sent to the victim’s server and the system tries to recollect and assemble the pieces together and it crashes in the process.
- Smurf Attack – specifically send messages o the target website using Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) through the reflectors.
Once the army of attackers begins the DDoS against a victim, there are minimum things the system can do for preventing a disaster. The system administrators can either limit the amount of traffic as allowed by the server or filter the traffic if they know the origin of the attack. Unfortunately, this is not easy because most crackers spoof or hide their addresses. Learn more about the many ways crackers can attack your website or server.