Different distributed denial-of-service attack techniques exhaust or saturate the targeted system in different ways. There are three common types of attacks: volumetric attacks, protocol attacks, and application attacks. Each of these can last anywhere from minutes to months and can range from an unnoticeable amount of traffic to more than the highest throughput on record, reported at 1.35 terabits per second.
Volumetric attacks saturate the bandwidth used by the targeted systems. This technique is the most common and the simplest for attackers to perform. Often, attackers use amplification techniques to generate this traffic to avoid needing an extremely large number of resources.
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Amplification attacks utilize large responses to small requests, amplifying the traffic to flood the target. This is often done by spoofing the source of the packets, known as reflection, or a reflection attack. For instance, by spoofing the source IP of a DNS request, an attacker can trick DNS servers into sending responses to the target instead of the originator. Since the request sent to the DNS server is small, but the response sent to the victim is large, the attacker is using reflection to amplify the volume of traffic sent to the target.