Various methods of Denial Of Service attack
ICMP flooding (smurfing)
|Contents of an ICMP packet (should not bother you currently)|
ICMP packets have two purposes (technically)-
- It is used by network devices, like routers, to send error messages indicating, for example, that a requested service is not available or that a host or router could not be reached
- It is also used to relay query messages
|The three way handshake (that didn’t happen in our case)|
In SYN flooding, the attacker send the target a large number of TCP/SYN packets. These packets have a source address, and the target computer replies (TCP/SYN-ACK packet) back to the source IP, trying to establish a TCP connection. In ideal condition, the target receives an acknowledgement packet back from the source, and the connection established is in a fully open state. However, the attacker uses a fake source address while sending TCP packets to the victim, and the target’s reply goes to an inexistent IP, and therefore, does not generate an acknowledgement packet. The connection is never established, and the target is left with a half open connection. Eventually, a lot of half open connections are created, and the target network gets saturated to the point where it does not have resources left to respond to the genuine packets, resulting in a successful DOS attack. Also, since the connections stay open for a while, the server loses its ability to work for a good amount of time after the attack has been stopped.
|A small botnet|
Now, this is not an attack is such, rather, it is a way of carrying out the attacks more effectively. When carried out against a large server, the above attacks usually prove ineffective. Your home router is nothing when compared to the HUGE servers that big websites have, and handling a single PCs DOS effect can be a piece of cake. This leads to the need of a Distributed Denial of Service attack. In a distributed denial of service, hacking groups use their numbers as strength. For example, if you have 500 friends who know how to carry out a denial of service attack, then the combined impact is much more dangerous than that of a lone PC. However, it is not always possible to have 500 hackers next door, and not all of us are part of large black hat hacking organisations.
|Try not to end up like this|
This is where the botnets steps in. Now the bad guys use tools called RATs (remote administration tools) to infect and get total control over computers over the internet. The RATs are a kind of trojan, and can lie there on your PC and you’ll never find out. By the use of crypting, some hackers have mastered anti-virus evasion, and these RATs can lie undetected on your PC for years. This is 100% illegal. You can easily end up in jail for this, and I recommend that you stay away from this. But, its important that you are aware of the existence of such tools, and more importantly, what the hackers can do with them. Now lets assume you made a RAT and its has infected 10,000 people. You can actually control those 10,000 computers. Now there’s this website server that you don’t like, and you’re this badass hacker who takes down stuff he doesn’t like. No, you don’t have a warehouse full of networking power (servers), but you do have ten thousand computers at your disposal, and this is called a botnet. You also have 5 friends who are hackers, and have similarly sized botnets. Such immense networking power can easily take down a large website for hours, if not days. The results of flooding packets from 50,000 computers can be catastrophic. With modern day firewalls, it is almost impossible to flood servers and take them down using one single computers, so while botnets are the most unethical entities, they are also the most powerful. Now here is a suggestion, Denial of Service attacks are easy to trace back (if you are a beginner), and even if you are good, there is always someone better, and you can’t hide forever. So try not to send bad packets at random websites, you won’t look good in orange