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Criminals will approach website operators with an offer they think the operators can’t refuse: pay us money or we’ll shut down your website.

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The hacking group “Anonymous” is well-known for targeting and taking down sites associated with companies or governments whose activity or philosophy they object to.

These attacks tend to be relatively short-lived; their goal is to get notoriety for their cause with the service outage.

Less common today, is the denial of service attack for no reason other than hackers simply wanting to prove to themselves and to others that they have the ability and resources to bring a site to its knees.

The best example of this is the series of outages back in 2000 that took down CNN, e Bay and Yahoo! If your computer is the victim of a successful virus or malware attack that turns it into a zombie and makes it part of a botnet, you could find yourself being part of a denial of service attack.

Sometimes when you try to access an Internet site but can’t, it’s more than an annoyance; sometimes you’re actually seeing an attack in progress.

When hackers and criminals work to make specific Internet sites inaccessible, they’re carrying out a Denial of Service attack or Do S (sometimes called “DDo S” for “distributed” denial of service).

A denial of service attack is different from a regular service outage because it’s been consciously and purposefully caused by a hacker or criminal.

Hackers and criminals will levy denial of service attacks for three main reasons: Denial of service attacks can make money as part of an extortion scheme.

The most common way that denial of service attacks are carried out is with botnets.

Hackers and criminals use botnets that they own or rent and instruct the infected zombie computers to send network traffic to the target website.

Since botnets can be made up of hundreds of thousands or even millions of zombie computers, they’re capable of inundating even the most robust and well-defended site with network traffic.

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