Dos vs DDoS: Learn the Difference

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In the current situation of covid-19, most of the organizations are operating virtually, and their employees are working from home. This gives a perfect opportunity for the attackers to execute cyber attacks, which is why the number of cyber attacks has grown recently. A cyber magazine report says that the number of DOS attacks is expected to be about 14.5 million by 2022, which is pretty huge in number. A denial of service attack can cost a small organization 120K dollars and nearly 2 million dollars for bigger organizations, and it will also lead to loss of reputation.  In a few industries, such as online gaming and gambling, denial of service and DDoS attacks are very common these days.  In this article, I will discuss Dos and DDoS attacks and how they are different from each other. Let me briefly explain the two first.

What is Dos?

Dos Stands for denial of service.  It is a cyber attack in which the user is not able to access the information system devices or network resources due to malicious actions by a cyber threat actor. This attack overwhelms the physical resources or the service’s network connections getting attacked, which ultimately prevents users from accessing it. The motive of the attack is to deny normal, legitimate service requests and user access. The most common way of this attack is to flood the victim with heavy traffic so that all the resources get consumed, and the victim could not handle the requests further, resulting in a denial of service. It will look like the service is running slow or it is disconnected. This attack is common for websites, but any individual can also be a victim of a denial of service attack.  Denial of service attack has a huge impact on an organization’s cost, resulting in both time and money consumption while the service is inaccessible.

What is DDoS?

DDoS stands for distributed denial of service. It works similar to a denial of service attack, but the difference here is, in DDoS, the attacker launches the attack using multiple systems. Such kinds of attacks are used for large-scale attack operations. The attacker uses multiple systems to attack a single target system with malicious traffic. With multiple systems, it is easier for the attacker to take down the system offline. A DDoS attack is faster than a denial-of-service attack and also very difficult to trace. 


Here is a real-life DDoS attack that happened in the past. Its victim was Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms. Amazon stated that AWS shield observed and mitigated a 2.3 terabits per second DDoS attack In the month of February 2020. AWS Shield is a managed DDoS protection service by Amazon that is responsible for safeguarding applications running on AWS. Hijack CLDAB web servers were used to execute the attack and the AWS Shield was affected by three days of elevated threat. The peak volume traffic of the DDoS attack was of 2.3 terabits per second, which is the largest ever recorded. This attack made AWS lose millions of dollars. 


Now let me tell you the differences between Dos and DDoS attacks.

Dos vs DDoS: Learn the differences

Attack Source

Denial of service attack uses a single system to attack on the victim, whereas a distributed denial of service attack uses multiple systems or a network of devices to gain control of the victim. 


Because a DDoS attack is executed from multiple locations, it can be deployed faster on the victim’s system, whereas a Dos attack occurs from a single location and the speed of the attack is slower.


The execution type of both denial of service and DDoS attacks are different. In a denial of service attack, the attacker uses a Dos tool or a script to execute the attack. Whereas in the DDOS attacks,  that attacker uses botnets or a network of devices to take down a system.


Since the attacker uses a single system in a denial of service attack, it is easier to detect. In contrast, in a distributed denial of service attack, multiple systems’ usage makes it difficult to detect such attacks.

Traffic Volume

The traffic volume used in a DDOS attack is much higher than a Dos attack. The higher traffic volume is used to overload the server rapidly. Such high traffic volume in a DDos attack is generated by botnets.


Here is a table that tells you the differences between Dos and DDoS attacks.


Parameter Dos Attack DDoS Attack
Full Form Denial of Service Distributed Denial of Service
Attack Source Single system Multiple systems running remotely at multiple locations
Threat Level Low High
Detection Easy Hard
Traffic Volume Low High
Malware Involvement No malware involved Botnets (malware) are used
Attack Speed Slow Fast
Management Easy to operate and manage Not easy to operate and manage
Cost Low High


Final Thoughts

That was all about Dos and DDoS attacks. I hope you are now clear with the differences between Dos and DDoS. The denial of service attacks are simpler and easy to tackle, but a DDoS attack can really do some heavy damage to any organization’s business. I would suggest taking cybersecurity expert help and stay safer from these cyber attacks.

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