DoS vs. DDoS Attacks: Understanding the Difference

March 17, 2023

A DoS attack (Denial of Service attack) is an attempt to make a computer or network resource unavailable to its intended users by overwhelming it with traffic from a single machine. On the other hand, a DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service attack) is similar but it involves multiple machines launching an attack on a target system.

DDoS attacks are more difficult to prevent than DoS attacks because they come from multiple locations. Additionally, since a DoS comes from a single location, it is easier to detect its origin and sever the connection.

There are several methods for preventing against DoS and DDoS attacks. One method is aborting the attack by preplanning and having additional capacity to withstand or absorb the attack. Another method is degrading services by identifying and stopping noncritical services during an attack. In some cases, all services can be shut down until the attack has subsided.

Another way to prevent DDoS attacks is through implementation of security best practices such as patching, updating, and changing settings to harden resources against attacks. It’s also important to know your network’s traffic and create a Denial of Service Response Plan.

Oftentimes, responding to a DDoS attack includes working with an internet service provider (ISP) or DDoS mitigation service provider. Establishing relationships with those providers ahead of any attack will help prevent and quickly respond to attacks. Cloud-based protection with a tool such as Project Silica can also be leveraged as it can scale and handle even major volumetric DDoS attacks with ease.