What is HTTP Flooding? (Process, Types, How to Detect and Defend)

Cyber SecurityHTTPSafe & Security

What is HTTP Flooding?

HTTP flood is a sort of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack in which an attacker attacks a web server or application using seemingly valid HTTP GET or POST requests.

HTTP flood assaults are volumetric attacks that frequently employ a botnet "zombie army"—a collection of Internet-connected computers that have been maliciously taken over, usually with the help of malware such as Trojan Horses.

HTTP floods are a sophisticated Layer 7 assault that does not involve corrupted packets, spoofing, or reflection techniques and requires less bandwidth to bring down the targeted site or server than other attacks. As a result, they necessitate a deeper awareness of the targeted site or application, and each assault must be carefully prepared to be successful. This makes it far more challenging to identify and prevent HTTP flood assaults.

How Does HTTP Flooding Work?

In an HTTP flood attack, attackers send a torrent of HTTP requests to a web server, requesting pages with significant loading volumes. As a result, the server becomes overburdened and unable to handle legitimate requests. As a result, users can no longer access the website or online application.

Botnets are frequently used by cybercriminals to increase the efficiency and impact of their attacks. Botnets are typically made up of thousands of commandeered and remotely controlled computers and networked systems from the Internet of Things. They send a barrage of concurrent requests to the target's infrastructure until it can no longer handle the load.

Types of HTTP Floods

HTTP Flood Attacks can be classified into various categories, such as −

Attack on HTTP GET

Many devices are used in this type of attack to request photos, files, or other media from a targeted site. A DDoS flood attack occurs when the victim receives requests from several sources and continues to receive them

HTTP Get Attack

This type of attack combines several devices to request photos, files, or other media from a targeted server. A DDoS flood attack occurs when the victim receives requests from several sources and continues to receive them.


When a user fills out an online form and submits it through their browser, the server must manage the HTTP request and route it to a persistence layer, most typically a database. When compared to the amount of computing power necessary to make an HTTP post request, the procedure for handling data submission and performing commands on the database is significantly more intensive.

This attack makes use of resource power consumption by sending a large number of HTTP requests to the web server, resulting in an HTTP DDoS attack until the web server's capacity is reached.

What are the Dangers of an HTTP Flood Attack?

It's nearly impossible to tell the difference between legitimate and malicious traffic because they employ common URL queries. Because they don't use reflection or spoofing techniques, it's difficult to tell which traffic is infected.

Because they use far less bandwidth than brute force attacks, they can frequently shadow themselves while bringing the entire system down. HTTP flooding attacks are purposefully planned for a specific target, making them significantly more challenging to detect and block.

To summarize, an HTTP flood that a victim's computer did not intend or was unaware of can be extremely damaging, resulting in an overloaded server that is unable to receive normal traffic. However, profiling measures such as recognizing UP reputation, monitoring aberrant user behavior, and adopting progressive security challenges, are the most widely recommended mitigation tool for preventing DDoS floods.

Many businesses employ specialized automated software to analyze all incoming network traffic and classify incoming online traffic.

How to Detect HTTP Flood Attacks?

In HTTP flood assaults, thieves flood the server with valid requests rather than penetrating the system through security holes or injecting malware, as in previous attacks. This traffic is essentially indistinguishable from regular data traffic because these are typical URL queries. Furthermore, traffic data such as the sender (IP address), client, or user agent identification (browser name) can be modified and falsified, making it even more difficult to identify attacks.

Understanding the substance of the requests and placing them in context is critical for reliably distinguishing attack traffic from normal user requests. This is accomplished by modern protection systems assessing all incoming requests before they reach the webserver. This allows them to detect anomalous traffic patterns automatically and thwart HTTP flood attacks at an early stage.

How You Can Defend Yourself against HTTP Flooding

It's tough to defend against an HTTP flood assault since the requests appear to be typical website traffic at first. There is no virus supplied to the server, and no attempts are made to exploit security flaws. Instead, the attackers inundate the server with legitimate requests. The attacks are typically undetected in the early stages since they require far less bandwidth than a significant intrusion into the page code.

Most websites use a captcha test, which must be completed manually by a genuine person. This allows a botnet to be recognized in advance and its IP addresses to be blacklisted. Websites and programs, on the other hand, have firewalls.

The traffic to the website is examined and analyzed by these technologies. They cause minor slowdowns to your website to ensure its security and stability. If the site is already data- and process-intensive, a loading screen can be integrated while the homepage is loading in the background.

Updated on 02-Jun-2022 11:29:28