DDoS or Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack

I use several different hosting companies.  One that I haven’t written about before is ICDSoft.  I don’t recommend them to customers because they don’t offer telephone support.  However if you’re an experienced developer, this is a great host.

Uncharacteristically, ICDSoft was down last week.  I discovered that they were experiencing a DDoS or distributed denial-of-service attack. That obviously sounds bad, but what does that mean?

The “distributed” part means that the attack was coming from more than one location.  Usually the attack is made by virus or malware infected computers.  The hackers love this because stopping an attack of this nature is more difficult than stopping an attack from a single location.

The “denial-of-service” part means that the hackers are trying to overload the website host so that it can’t do its job.  The servers (the computers of the website host) receive a lot of bogus requests.  The requests don’t hurt the machines, but it takes time and effort to deal with the requests.  In the meantime the servers can’t do their normal job of serving up website pages.  It’s kind of like getting so many wrong number calls that your friends can’t get through the telephone line.

The attack lasted about twelve hours.  After that my sites were back up and running fine.

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