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Botnets and DDoS attacks - What are they?

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Around this time last year DDoS attacks were all over the news. Dyn DNS and KrebsOnSecurity both were hammered by record-size attacks. See these two articles for a rundown of what happened:

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2016/09/krebsonsecurity-hit-with-record-ddos/https://dyn.com/blog/dyn-analysis-summary-of-friday-october-21-attack/ Recently more news of a botnet called "Reaper" or "IoTroop" has surfaced.  In summary, experts believe this botnet is intended to be used as a part of a DDoS-for-hire service. Let's dive in and see how DDoS works and why it's effective.
DDoS and Botnets
So what is a DDoS attack? You may have heard the term before (especially those who keep up with the video game industry). DDoS is an acronym which stands for "Distributed Denial of Service", and the purpose of DDoS is to take down a website or service on the Internet. What this means is that on a normal day the website will be up and available for you to use, but under a…