Cyber Security Expo
DoS Attacks: Instigation and Mitigation by Jeremy Martin on 26/08/04

During the release of a new software product specialized to track spam, ACME Software Inc notice that there was not as much traffic as they hoped to receive. During further investigation, they found that they could not view their own website. At that moment, the VP of sales received a call from the company's broker stating that ACME Software Inc stock fell 4 point due to lack of confidence. Several states away, spammers didn't like the idea of lower profit margins do to an easy to install spam blocking software so they thought they would fight back. Earlier that day, they took control of hundreds of compromised computers and used them as DoS zombies to attack ACME Software Inc's Internet servers in a vicious act of cyber assault. During an emergency press conference the next morning, ACME Software Inc's CIO announced his resignation as a result of a several million dollar corporate loss.

Scenarios like the one above happen a more then people think and are more costly then most will admit. Denial of Service (DoS) attacks are designed to deplete the resources of a target computer system in an attempt to take a node off line by crashing or overloading it. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is a DoS attack that is engaged by many different locations. The most common DDoS attacks are instigated through viruses or zombie machines. There are many reasons that DoS attacks are executed, and most of them are out of malicious intent. DoS attacks are almost impossible to prevent if you are singled out as a target. It's difficult to distinguish the difference between a legitimate packet and one used for a DoS attack.

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