A sync flood attack, also known as a TCP SYN flood attack, is a type of denial-of-service (DoS) attack in which an attacker attempts to overwhelm a targeted server with a flood of TCP SYN packets.
In a typical TCP three-way handshake, a client sends a SYN packet to the server, the server responds with a SYN-ACK packet, and the client sends an ACK packet to complete the connection. In a SYN flood attack, the attacker sends a large number of SYN packets to the server, but does not respond to the SYN-ACK packets that the server sends in return. This causes the server to keep the half-open connections open for a longer period of time, exhausting the server's resources and making it unavailable for legitimate users.
The goal of a SYN flood attack is to consume the server's resources, such as memory and processing power, making it unable to respond to legitimate requests. This type of attack is relatively easy to launch and can be carried out using a single computer or a network of compromised computers.
To defend against SYN flood attacks, server administrators can implement various countermeasures, such as setting a maximum number of half-open connections allowed, using firewalls and intrusion detection systems, and employing specialized hardware devices that can mitigate the effects of such attacks.
A Sync Flood Attack (SFA) is a type of Denial of Service (DoS) attack that aims to overwhelm a target server or network by sending a large number of connection requests. In this attack, the attacker sends a series of TCP SYN packets to the target system, but fails to complete the three-way handshake process that is required to establish a connection. This causes the target system to waste resources by keeping the half-open connections open until they time out, effectively exhausting the system's ability to accept new connections.
The three-way handshake is the process by which two systems establish a connection over the Internet using the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). The first step is for the client to send a SYN packet to the server. The server then responds with a SYN-ACK packet, indicating that it is willing to establish a connection. Finally, the client sends an ACK packet back to the server, completing the connection setup process.
In a Sync Flood Attack, the attacker sends a large number of SYN packets to the target system, but never responds to the SYN-ACK packets sent by the server. This causes the server to keep the half-open connections open, waiting for the ACK packets that never arrive. As the number of half-open connections grows, the server's resources become increasingly strained until it can no longer handle new connection requests. This results in a denial of service for legitimate users who are unable to access the server or network.
The most common way to launch a Sync Flood Attack is to use a botnet, which is a network of compromised computers that can be controlled by a single attacker. The attacker uses malware to infect a large number of computers and then uses them to send the SYN packets to the target system. Because the attack traffic comes from many different sources, it is difficult for the target system to block or filter the traffic.
There are several ways to defend against Sync Flood Attacks. One method is to use firewalls or intrusion prevention systems (IPS) that can detect and block the attack traffic. These systems can monitor incoming traffic and block packets that match the pattern of a Sync Flood Attack. Another method is to use rate limiting, which limits the number of connections that a system can accept from a single IP address within a certain time period. This can help prevent the attacker from overwhelming the system with connection requests.
In addition, network administrators can implement a technique called SYN cookies, which is a security feature that can protect against SYN Flood Attacks. SYN cookies work by encoding the necessary information in the initial SYN packet sent by the client, rather than storing it on the server. This allows the server to respond to the SYN packet without keeping the half-open connection open. If the server receives a SYN-ACK packet from a client that does not have a corresponding SYN cookie, it knows that the packet is part of an attack and can drop it.
In conclusion, Sync Flood Attacks are a common and effective way for attackers to disrupt network operations and cause a denial of service for legitimate users. These attacks work by overwhelming the target system with a large number of half-open connections, causing it to become unresponsive. However, there are several ways to defend against these attacks, including the use of firewalls, IPS, rate limiting, and SYN cookies. By implementing these techniques, network administrators can help protect their systems from Sync Flood Attacks and other types of DoS attacks.