Classification of Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks

DoS Attacks Classification Techhyme

Denial of Service (DoS) attacks continue to be a persistent threat in the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity. These malicious activities disrupt the normal functioning of networks, services, or devices, rendering them unavailable to legitimate users.

To better understand the diverse nature of DoS attacks, they can be classified into five categories based on the attacked protocol level.

1. Network Device Level Attacks

At the Network Device Level, DoS attacks exploit vulnerabilities in software or exhaust hardware resources to compromise network devices. One illustrative example is a buffer-overrun error in the password checking routine, which could crash routers if exploited through telnet connections with excessively long passwords.

2. OS Level Attacks

Operating System (OS) Level DoS attacks take advantage of the implementation of protocols within operating systems. The infamous Ping of Death attack involves sending ICMP echo requests with data sizes exceeding the maximum IP standard size, causing the victim’s machine to crash.

This highlights the importance of securing protocol implementations at the OS level to mitigate such threats.

3. Application-Based Attacks

Application-based DoS attacks target network applications running on a host, exploiting bugs or draining resources to render the service or machine unavailable. An example is the finger bomb, where a malicious user recursively executes the finger routine on the victim, depleting its resources.

Identifying and patching vulnerabilities in network applications are crucial to preventing these types of attacks.

4. Data Flooding Attacks

Data flooding attacks aim to overwhelm network bandwidth, host, or device resources by inundating them with massive amounts of data. An instance of this is flood pinging, where an attacker attempts to utilize the maximum available bandwidth by sending an excessive number of ping requests.

Implementing effective traffic filtering mechanisms can help mitigate the impact of data flooding attacks.

5. Protocol Feature-Based Attacks

DoS attacks based on protocol features exploit standard protocol functionalities. For example, attackers may leverage IP address spoofing to launch attacks, and various DoS attacks target DNS caches on name servers.

An attack involving a malicious name server tricking a victim name server into caching false records illustrates the potential risks associated with protocol feature exploitation.


Understanding the classification of DoS attacks based on protocol level is essential for developing effective defense mechanisms. Security measures must encompass network devices, operating systems, applications, and protocol features to safeguard against the diverse array of DoS threats.

Regular updates, patching vulnerabilities, and implementing robust security practices are crucial in the ongoing battle against Denial of Service attacks.

You may also like:

Related Posts

Leave a Reply