DoS vs DDoS Attacks: Differences & Meaning
In this information age, personal and professional data is not as safe as it used to be. Now, soft copies of complex data are stored on servers online. And if any unauthorized person ever gains access to this data, the outcome can be more than destructive.
DoS and DDoS attacks are one category of danger that poses a significant threat to data online. And both DoS and DDoS attacks have the power to leave entire servers out of service. But is there any difference between DoS vs DDoS attacks?
The discussion below focuses on the differentiation between a Dos attack vs DDoS attack. Readers must know the clear difference between the two to equip themselves better should they ever be a victim of one.
What is a DoS Attack?
A DoS attack is a Denial of Service attack. A computer or service is forced to go out of order by flooding it with unnecessary traffic. The attacker sends an unusual amount of data packets to the system, ultimately overloading the system’s potential and leaving it unusable.
A DoS attack has become highly convenient for cybercriminals, given that most organizations have gone digital. And even though they have gone digital, security is not always on point.
What is a DDoS Attack?
A DDoS attack is a Distributed Denial of Service attack. Unlike a DoS attack, the intruder uses multiple machines or sources to target a network. The data packets are flooded on the system from various sources, leaving the target highly vulnerable.
Unlike a DoS attack, a DDoS attack is relatively difficult to fight since multiple devices target a single network or system. With a DDoS attack, the attacker can easily render a network offline.
Critical Differences Between a DoS vs DDoS Attack?
There are several major differences between DDoS vs DoS attacks. However, the most notable difference between a DDoS vs DoS attack is that the first uses a single source to target a system. In contrast, the latter utilizes multiple source devices to target a network. That said, here are a few other prominent differences that set a DoS and DDoS attack apart:
Ease of Execution
A DoS attack depends on a single source to execute an attack. Thus, making it relatively easy to implement. The attacker only needs to configure a single source of the attack, which, if done properly, can have catastrophic results for the target.
In contrast, a DDoS attack is difficult to execute since the attacker has to set up multiple devices for the attack to be successful.
Ease of Counter
At the same time, a DoS attack is relatively harder to find and stop since a single source needs to be found. And if that source is properly disguised, it could be too late before the source is found.
On the other hand, a DDoS attack can be relatively easy to counter. Since the criminal uses multiple networks to target a single device or network, the rest can be tracked using that source even if a single source is found in time.
Speed of the Attack
A DDoS attack is faster to execute than a DoS attack. Since a DDoS attack comes from multiple sources, it can spread much more quicker than a DoS attack.
At the same time, a DoS attack relies on a single point of origin. And while this attack is relatively easier to execute, it is also slower.
Volume of Traffic
A DDoS attack has the potential to send a larger quantity of traffic toward the target network. Since the attacker has multiple sources in its control, that is a significant possibility.
A DoS attack, however dangerous, cannot send as much data as a DDoS attack. It has a rather limited capacity, which limits this form of attack.
Types of DoS Attacks and DDoS Attacks
Both DoS attacks and DDoS attacks can take on a variety of forms. And both of them can be utilized for a variety of ill intentions. To have a better idea of what form of DoS or DDoS is targeting you, here are a few main forms of such attacks:
A flooding attack is a DoS attack that sends numerous connection requests to a target network. And once the connection request is received, the attacker does not respond to complete the connection.
A teardrop attack is a DoS or DDoS attack that sends many Internet Protocol data fragments to a data network. And when the target network attempts to compile all those data fragments, it cannot do so.
A Volumetric attack is a form of DDoS attack that aims to target the bandwidth resources of the target. The attacker sends a high number of packet requests that overwhelm the bandwidth of the network.
IP Fragmentation Attack
This type of DoS attack sends altered network packets to a network. Once a network receives the altered data packets, it cannot reassemble them, leaving it tangled and incapable.
A protocol attack is a form of DDoS attack that targets the third and fourth layers of the OSI model. The attack exploits the weaknesses in these layers, which would cause the network to utilize resources unnecessarily on a pointless task.
An application-based attack is a DDoS attack that targets the seventh layer of the OSI model. During this attack, the attacker sends HTTP requests to the network but does not respond once received, which ultimately causes the target to be tied up in a useless task.
Why do DoS and DDoS Attacks Occur?
Whether one is a victim of a DoS attack or a DDoS attack, chances are that the attacker has one of the following reasons for executing the attack:
Not all DoS or DDoS attacks are for financial reasons. Some attacks may be solely for political or personal reasons. Hackers attempt to execute DoS or DDoS attacks to harm the target’s goodwill by any means necessary.
Some DoS or DDoS attacks are for the old-fashioned reason – money. Criminals launch DoS or DDoS attacks, hoping to get a ransom in exchange for leaving the network alone. The attacker may claim that they will bring the server back online once they are paid the ransom they have demanded.
Some people cannot bear to see others grow. And the same phenomenon thus applies to companies as well. If a company is growing rapidly, some competitors might not like the sight of it. And by launching a DoS or DDoS attack, they can sabotage a competitor’s internal network.
At times, employees who have not had a satisfactory experience at an organization might be behind a DoS or DDoS attack. If they have the necessary skills to pull off such an attack, they can target an organization’s internal network only to get back at the company.
How to Prevent DoS and DDoS Attacks?
Once the confusion between a DoS vs DDoS attack is cleared, readers should also know how to prevent the attacks before they occur. Here are a few tactics that ought to be practiced to prevent such attacks:
Set Up a VPN Service
A VPN service’s primary objective is to secure and encrypt the traffic of any person or organization. By setting up a dedicated VPN service within an organization, employers can get closer to preventing a DoS and DDoS attack.
Ivacy VPN luckily offers such services to organizations worldwide. With Ivacy VPN’s white-label VPN services, companies can set up a customized VPN environment for their employees and keep all unwanted parties at bay.
Run a DoS Attack
The best way to figure out a counter for an attack is by running the attack yourself. The company can better understand how to counter a DoS attack by doing a test run. Doing this will highlight the existing network flaws and help the company rectify those flaws before an actual DoS or DDoS attack occurs.
Implement a Strong Security Protocol
Setting up a VPN service or running a test DoS attack is not enough to counter an actual DoS or DDoS attack. It is an organization’s responsibility to implement bulletproof security protocols that can withstand any cyber attack, including firewalls, VPN services, antivirus software, security policies, and more.
All Things Considered
Here is everything that needs to be understood about the differences between DoS vs DDoS attacks. Once the difference is clearly understood, the measures mentioned above should be implemented soon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which attack is more serious, DoS or DDoS?
A DoS attack is relatively more dangerous since finding is harder than a DDoS attack. A DDoS attack is also extremely dangerous if counters are not taken instantly.
Is DDoS a DoS attack?
All DDoS attacks are a form of DoS attack, but not all DoS attacks are DDoS attacks.
Do DDoS attacks harm hardware?
DDoS attacks are not designed to target the hardware of any network. As the name suggests, they are designed to deny services on a network, which is a part of the software.