Denial of Service [DoS] Attack Law and Legal Definition

A denial of service (DoS) attack is an assault on a network by which a user or organization is deprived of the services of a resource they would normally expect to have. An attacker may be able to prevent the victim from accessing email, websites, online accounts or other services, by targeting the victim’s computer and its network connection or the computers and network of the sites that the victim uses. The most common DoS attack occurs when an attacker "floods" a network with information. When one types a URL for a particular web site into his/her browser, s/he is sending a request to that site's computer server to view the page. The server can only process a certain number of requests at once, so if an attacker overloads the server with requests, it cannot process the request thereby denying access to that site. This is a "denial of service". Further, an attacker can use spam email messages to launch a similar attack on a person’s email account. An email account assigns a specific quota, which limits the amount of data one can have in his/her account at any given time. An attacker can prevent the victim from receiving legitimate messages by sending many or large, email messages to the account thereby consuming the victim’s quota. Other examples of Dos attacks are filling disk storage, disabling ports, or removing power.