An attempt by a bad actor to disrupt the operation of an application, server or network by flooding it with traffic.
DDoS attacks are among the most common forms of cyberattack. They often make use of networks (botnets) of devices (bots) that have been compromised by malware — placing them under the control of the bad actor.
The attacker instructs every bot to send huge numbers of requests to the target, with the intention of overwhelming the network. At this point, normal service is denied to legitimate traffic... hence the name.
Crypto exchanges have become common targets for DDoS attacks. This isn't surprising, as bad actors tend to focus on high-profile businesses, and rising awareness of cryptocurrencies has put exchanges firmly in the spotlight.
Early in 2020, two major crypto exchanges were taken offline by DDoS attacks in the space of 24 hours. For exchanges, the risks are obvious: successful DDoS attacks mean that users cannot transact until they are brought back online.
The high number of successful DDoS attacks on crypto exchanges and other crypto sites is indicative of a more significant problem. In order to achieve mass adoption, cryptocurrencies need to be trustworthy. Consumers need to know that they will be able to access their funds and transact with the same ease and reassurance that they feel when using a bank. If exchanges and similar sites have fallen victim to DDoS attacks, consumers may reasonably be concerned about the stability of the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.
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