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Using an SSL to make your way through to a site under a DoS attack

Posted on March 29, 2011 by bcowan No Comments

With DoS attacks making headlines a month ago or so, this article could have perhaps been better timed, but better late than never. I had to employ this simple trick a few weeks ago to navigate to Escrow.com while they were under a DoS attack, but I have been told it worked for accessing Paypal during it’s recent DoS attack. Simply use the secure URL (https:) through direct type in when visiting the site.

What is a Dos Attack?

A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person or people to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely. Perpetrators of DoS attacks typically target sites or services hosted on high-profile web servers such as banks, credit card payment gateways, and even root nameservers. The term is generally used with regards to computer networks, but is not limited to this field; for example, it is also used in reference to CPU resource management.

One common method of attack involves saturating the target machine with external communications requests, such that it cannot respond to legitimate traffic, or responds so slowly as to be rendered effectively unavailable. In general terms, DoS attacks are implemented by either forcing the targeted computer(s) to reset, or consuming its resources so that it can no longer provide its intended service or obstructing the communication media between the intended users and the victim so that they can no longer communicate adequately.

dos attack sos

A “denial-of-service” attack is characterized by an explicit attempt by attackers to prevent legitimate users of a service from using that service. There are two general forms of DoS attacks: those that crash services and those that flood services.  Attacks can be directed at any network device, including attacks on routing devices and web, electronic mail, or Domain Name System servers.

A DoS attack can be perpetrated in a number of ways. The five basic types of attack are:

1. Consumption of computational resources, such as bandwidth, disk space, or processor time.
2. Disruption of configuration information, such as routing information.
3. Disruption of state information, such as unsolicited resetting of TCP sessions.
4. Disruption of physical network components.
5. Obstructing the communication media between the intended users and the victim so that they can no longer communicate adequately.

A DoS attack may include execution of malware intended to:

* Max out the processor’s usage, preventing any work from occurring.
* Trigger errors in the microcode of the machine.
* Trigger errors in the sequencing of instructions, so as to force the computer into an unstable state or lock-up.
* Exploit errors in the operating system, causing resource starvation and/or thrashing, i.e. to use up all available facilities so no real work can be accomplished.
* Crash the operating system itself.

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