I often see DDoS attacks compared by network traffic, for example:

The biggest DDoS attack to date took place in February of 2018. This attack targeted GitHub, a popular online code management service used by millions of developers. At its peak, this attack saw incoming traffic at a rate of 1.3 terabytes per second (Tbps), sending packets at a rate of 126.9 million per second.

Source: https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/ddos/famous-ddos-attacks/

But is that really the problem? Clogging up the network?

Or is it processing power, RAM, or something else?

  • 1
    the number of compromised machines? Nov 26, 2019 at 11:54
  • I mean the limited resource on the victims side.
    – besilik563
    Nov 26, 2019 at 12:32
  • 2
    Anything can be the bottleneck. The network is a big problem because you can't get around it by buying more servers or by optimizing your code. After a certain point, buying more network means rolling out new cable across the country. For comparison, 1.3Tbps is (roughly) 30% of the bandwidth that usually crosses the London Internet Exchange. What are you gonna do, build another exchange? (And that's the total traffic from every ISP to every other ISP. Your ISP can't handle anywhere near that much)
    – user253751
    Nov 26, 2019 at 14:40
  • (also for comparison, the Auckland internet exchange sees up to 12Gbps, which means if Github was hosted in Auckland, the DDoS would probably screw up the whole city's Internet and possibly the whole country)
    – user253751
    Nov 26, 2019 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


Distributed Denial of Service is a type of DoS attack where multiple compromised systems target the resources of a single system to bring it offline. The resources can be any of those you stated and they mostly fall into one of these categories:

Traffic attacks: Traffic flooding attacks send a huge volume of TCP, UDP and ICPM packets to the target. Legitimate requests get lost and these attacks may be accompanied by malware exploitation.

Bandwidth attacks: This DDos attack overloads the target with massive amounts of junk data. This results in a loss of network bandwidth and equipment resources and can lead to a complete denial of service.

Application attacks: Application-layer data messages can deplete resources in the application layer, leaving the target's system services unavailable.


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