Aside from not being reachable for actual customers and therefore financial loss, what damage (money/hardware/software) can a DDoS attack do?

PS: I've read about streamers/youtubers/private gamers being DDoSed and can't see any advantages for attackers to spend money on botnets for DDoSing some twitch streamer...

Edit:As this question seems too broad, let's just focus on private websites/users being DDoSed(I'm aware that the loss of critical infrastructure like power networks can do major damage)

  • Your question is far to broad ! There are so many possible answers ! Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 15:08
  • 2
    As Little Code said, the consequences can be pretty wide. For example, one could DDoS a city's ambulance distribution service and cause the death of many people due to late responses. Hypotetically, terrorists could DDoS all of the emergency services before setting off a bomb, seriously hampering our ability to react to it.
    – 0xFF
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 15:13
  • @fhlamarche I think your examples might fall under "not beeing reachable" if I read the question right.
    – Anders
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 15:19
  • @Anders true, but I wanted to point out that it can damage more than money/hardware/software.
    – 0xFF
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 15:37
  • 1
    DDoS can also be used to land any auto-scaling cloud service user a large bill or cause secondary effect like other services hosted on the same network as the one being attacked also made unavailable. Hackers can also use DDoS to mask a sting attack which can cause damages not typically associated with DoS.
    – billc.cn
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 15:41

4 Answers 4


A DDoS impacts a service negatively for several reasons (I'm not exploring the legal, social and financial consequences here):

1. Service Disruption: The most obvious -- preventing legitimate end-users from accessing a service, or affect the quality of service

2. Increase Costs: You may cause the service provider to spend more on resources to meet with your traffic

3. Camouflage: Your real attack logs gets lost in a large crowd

4. Trigger Fallbacks: A WAF / IDS/ IPS may change from filter mode to log-only mode

5. Loss of data: By overwhelming the DB or filesystem, data that has not been backed up may be lost

6. Identify Technical Capabilities: Based on how the service automatically/manually responds to a simple DDoS attack and the scale of traffic it can tolerate, you can learn about the technical competence of the system and it's operators. It also scopes out good targets, which are likely to have poor defensive capabilities.


The damage a DDoS can do is too broad of a question ... even when restricted to private websites/users. I can give you some examples of what DDoSes have been used for in the past and the damage they caused:

June 1st 2016 - TeamViewer DDoSed - Caused interruption in services for users and possible cause or smoke screen for hijacking of DNS which allowed for remote access of TeamViewer Clients

April 13th 2016 - Blizzard DDoSed - Prevented users from Logging in to Games and ingame stores (monetary losses)

Jan 5th 2016 - Sony PSN DDoSed - Prevented users from Logging in to Games and ingame stores (monetary losses)

As far as why someone would pay money to DDoS someone ... there are many reasons, one would be to hurt competition ... if a Twitch Streamer gets DDoSed then users will move to other channels. If a small game like Wildstar gets DDoSed people will move on to other games. People also have used DDoSes as a distraction while another services is being hacked ... Sony was undergoing massive DDoS attacks a few years ago while hackers penetrated there local network and lifted unreleased movies / games / email from there internal servers.


When a company or service is DDOSed the services are disrupted and sometimes taken down completely.

When a user or streamer is DDOSed the same goal remains. To disrupt or take them down completely.

Streamers are particularly targeted for the trolling aspect. When they are DDOSed they might be forced offline. This takes down their stream. And it hurts their ability to entice donations and subscriptions.

For example PSI Syndicate in the UK must go through a process to change his IP through his ISP. He eventually could no longer stream in the UK until he visited the USA as the rediscovery of his IPs and DDOS attacks became a regular issue. He has made mention in several vlogs how this has affected his regular revenue stream.

Sometimes they might be targeted for retaliation and to hurt their reputation. For example when Gaming For Good started a rival service for Twitch Alerts then TA was accused of view botting GFG's streams. This made GFG appear shady since they didn't have legitimate viewers. Eventually TA supposedly straight up started DDOSing GFG's streams all together. This however resulted in TA suing GFG claiming this to be unproven. If it happened or not is not my point. The point is how such methods could be used against another viewer for one viewers gain. And even though they are companies they were Twitch also streamers.

DDOSing streamers is now so common that Skype reconfigured it's default client settings due to gamers getting their IP addresses leaked for the purpose of DDOSing.

As far as regular users go DDOSing them might be for one of several reasons. Trolling, intimidation, retaliation over a personal matter, or even holding their connection ransom for digital items or even actual currency.


DDoS can also be used a distraction technique, so that you keep the defense busy with noise, while the much smaller (but damaging) attack runs in parallel.

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