An assault on a network that floods it with so many requests that regular traffic is either slowed or completely interrupted. Unlike a virus or worm, which can cause severe damage to databases, a denial of service attack interrupts network service for some period.
A distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack can employ hundreds or even thousands of computers that have been previously infected. The computers act as a network of "zombies" working together to send out bogus messages, thereby creating huge volumes of phony traffic.
In 2016, the Dyn DNS system was hammered by a DDOS attack that caused sporadic slowdowns of major sites such as X/Twitter, Netflix and The New York Times. The zombie traffic reached more than 100 gigabytes per second of bogus messages. See botnet
, mail bomb
, smurf attack
, SYN flood attack
, land attack
, teardrop attack
and Ping of Death
It's Not a New Phenomenon
In February 2000, computers were activated that had been previously hacked and planted with illicit programs. The unending number of requests caused a denial of service at Yahoo!, eBay, Amazon.com and other websites. (Article headline courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer.)