Cyberattacks have become extremely popular in recent years. In fact, more than 2,200 cyberattacks take place every day. Hackers have become savvy and resourceful, targeting both global enterprises and unsuspecting small businesses.

One of the most common forms of cybercrime is called a DDoS attack. DDoS attacks target all kinds of websites, with hackers having a variety of different motives for their actions.

Protecting your business from these attacks means you should understand what is a DDoS attack and how hackers work to compromise their victims. In this article, we’ll help you begin understanding DDoS attacks in a way that’s easy to grasp.

What is a DDoS Attack?

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is simply a way hackers overload a website’s server, prompting their website to crash in the process. A distributed denial-of-service attack also targets servers and networks.

To do this, hackers use multiple computer systems to overload a website’s server. To better understand this concept, imagine city maintenance trucks blocking a lane of traffic on a busy highway.

Suddenly, lots of cars pile up and create a traffic jam. In the same way, hackers use DDoS attacks to disrupt the normal flow of traffic to a website or network.

Oftentimes, servers have a difficult time processing all of the traffic data and end up crashing.

How Does a DDoS Attack Work?

Understanding DDoS attacks are actually both simple and scary at the same time. Once a hacker is able to infect several computers with malware, he or she can control them all at will.

Each individual computer is called a zombie or bot. A network of infected computers is called a botnet. After accumulating enough botnets, the attacker can control each device remotely.

In DDoS attacks, the hacker can send specific instructions to each bot, giving them the IP address of the victim. As each bot attacks the website at once, the server will become overwhelmed and crash.

Since hackers are using real computer devices to carry out these attacks, it’s very difficult to identify the infected devices and eliminate them.

Why Do Hackers Carry Out DDoS Attacks?

It seems silly to perform a DDoS attack just to cripple a website or network for a temporary period of time. In reality, the motivations behind DDoS attacks can be both noble and sinister.

With that said, here are some common reasons why hackers carry out DDoS attacks:


Hacktivists are hackers that use their abilities to promote a message. Believe it or not, these individuals are known for performing DDoS in a variety of noble ways.

For example, the hacktivist group Anonymous conducted a cyberattack on ISIS back in 2015.

Cyber Vandalism

Much like how people sprayed graffiti on walls in the late 20th century, there are hackers that perform DDoS attacks simply for attention and the respect of their peers.

Unfortunately, there is no barrier of entry for hackers to pull these stunts. An average hacker can purchase DDoS-for-hire services for as low as $20 an attack.


One of the most popular DDoS motivations is extortion. This means the hacker will either carry out a DDoS or threaten a company in order to gain something.

If something like this happens to you in the future, don’t give in to the hacker’s demands. Instead, call your local law enforcement agency and perform a cybersecurity audit to mitigate any damage.

Business Competition

Believe it or not, there are reported instances of companies hiring hackers to perform DDoS attacks on their competitors. These attacks are driven to alienate a company’s client base and cause massive financial damage.

Cyber Warfare

Hackers don’t always perform DDoS attacks for their own gain. Sometimes, countries can engage in cyber warfare against their enemies. DDoS attacks can be used to disrupt important financial, medical, and governmental websites an enemy has.

These attacks are usually well-funded and carried out by the best hackers on the planet.

Personal Reasons:

DDoS attacks can be carried out for petty reasons, including in online gaming competitions. For example, a gamer can conduct a DDoS attack against a rival during a competition to gain the upper hand.

How to Identify a DDoS Attack?

Do you want to learn how to know if your company is under attack? The most obvious sign of a DDoS is unusually slow website speed. But, there are more symptoms you should pay attention to. These are:

  • A suspicious influx of website traffic coming from an individual IP address
  • A sudden influx of website traffic who share the same location, behavior, and web browser
  • An unexpected increase in requests to visit a specific page
  • Unnatural traffic patterns at odd hours of the day

Being familiar with how hackers conduct DDoS attacks can help you jump into action before too much damage has been done.

How to Stop a DDoS Attack

Knowing how to stop a DDoS attack could be the difference between surviving or going out of business. Here are some helpful tips to stop a DDoS attack before it gets worse:

Identify the Attack Early

Identifying a DDoS attack should be simple if you know the signs and run your own servers. Slow website traffic means that the DDoS attack is already working.

If you can identify the attack when massive traffic is incoming, you can contact the police and a cybersecurity expert to provide assistance.

Call Your Hosting Provider or ISP

If you don’t manage your own servers, then you’ll need to contact your hosting provider immediately when under attack. The good news is that a hosting provider or ISP is better equipped to deal with a DDoS attack than if you handled your own servers.

Create a Swift Action Plan

During a DDoS attack, you should meet with your IT team to discuss the best course of action. Their guidance should help you create a future plan for dealing with DDoS attacks.

If your business has been targeted by cybercrime, the chances are that it won’t be the last time. Planning ahead will help you defeat any future hackers.

Learn More Helpful Business Tips

Thousands of DDoS attacks happen every year. Knowing what is a DDoS attack will help you prevent one in the future and stop responsible hackers in their tracks.

With that said, do you want to learn more helpful tips to grow your business? If so, check out our blog for more articles.