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Understanding a DDoS Attack on Your Network

A DDoS is so powerful, a successful attack can literally shut down the public digital access to an organization.

Do you remember as little kid when everyone wanted to get on the swings or the slide there was a big run for the equipment, and whoever was the fastest got to enjoy the play experience the best? Unfortunately, those who were slow were crowded out, many times not even getting a turn before the recess period was over. A DDoS attack works with the same way on a network. It is so powerful a successful attack can literally shut down the public digital access to an organization.

The Basics

DDoS is an acronym that stands for A distributed denial-of-service. This type of digital attack involves an intentional action over a computer system to cause functional harm or delay to a target. Most targets tend to be websites, web portals, networks, and even shared servers inside a network. The instrument used involves Internet traffic. In essence, too much traffic acts like that crowd of kids on the playground, blocking out anyone else trying to get in. When multiple access points and servers become compromised, the targeted network or website is effectively shut down.

Understanding the Components of a DDoS Attack

How in the world does an attacker get control of so many computer users to affect such an attack on a big organization tends to be a common question. In reality, the attacker frequently isn’t using any co-conspirators, or just a few versus thousands. Instead, the attacker utilizes computer programming to take over multiple computers, many without the valid users knowing, and then turning those computers on against the target. With sufficient programming scripts, the zombie computers start sending multiple demands for attention across a network at the target. When the demand reaches a point of saturation, the target shuts down unable to comply anymore. Attackers can utilize any type of computer connection to the Internet to do this, including anything from standard computers to servers to even Internet-of-Things devices (IoT) which are originally just supposed to work as a utility tool. Utilizing all these contact points, the attacker creates the mother-of-all-Internet-traffic-jams on the target and overwhelms its resources.

The Preparation Happens Digitally Without Warning

Building the workhorses to put into action a DDoS attack takes a bit of time. So, to speed things up, the attacker frequently uses an easily spread computer virus or trojan to get his script into unsuspecting computers and devices. Once infected by any connection, including the Internet, the contact points identify themselves to the attacker and then sit and wait until they receive a command. Each controlled contact point is dubbed a “bot” and the group together are referred to as a “botnet.”  After confirming the botnet is a sufficient size and reach, the attacker sends out a script update with an internet protocol (IP) address of the target. The bots turn on and start making repeat information demands from the target. Given how computers can run 24/7 and manage millions of instructions per minute, the capability of hundreds of machines at once starts creating a tidal wave load on the target. And, here’s the key, due to the fact that each bot making a request looks like a valid, public-accessing computer, the target will respond as if nothing is wrong, until it completely fails.

Any Open Door is an Invitation

DDoS attacks are not limited to just one part of a targeted network either. They can be launched at different levels and multiple levels (multi-vector) at the same time. Most networks use a 7 distinct layer model, with traffic occurring anywhere from the landline, physical connection to the high level application and Internet level. All of these channels are vulnerable to a DDoS attack without proper defenses in place. The majority of attacks tend to be Internet-related, however, due to the ease of connection over large distances without physical demands.

Getting Solutions

On the one hand, you can try to set up various defenses for your network to anticipate a DDoS attack, such as using firewalls or having a distributed network to lessen concentrated attacks on one site. Or you can partner with a network support provider like PS Lightwave, who is already looking out for you with their integrated defense approach for DDoS attacks as well as many other types of network harm. At PS Lightwave, our systems incorporate a multi-faceted defense line to external harm before it ever has a chance to reach your network. It’s one less problem to worry about in your busy day trying to run a successful operation. Prevention is always cheaper than damage recovery.

PS LIGHTWAVE provides high-speed, fiber Internet for public and private commercial entities in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.

Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and expert, locally based support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. We invite you to learn more about our services, our history and our dedicated team.

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PS LIGHTWAVE, a leading telecommunications service provider headquartered in Houston, Texas, provides managed Ethernet Data Circuits, Internet, private network solutions and Voice over IP (VoIP) over one of the nation’s largest facilities-based private Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs). The switched Layer 2 network, backed by 24/7/365 Network Operations Center (NOC) support, encompasses approximately 5,500 route miles and 1,400 on-net locations and connects 100+ fault-tolerant multi-gigabit Ethernet rings for built-in redundancy, security, low latency, and high-availability. At PS LIGHTWAVE Great Connections Happen Here™.

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