DOS and DDOS attack penetration testing – how is it done?

What is a DDOS and DOS attack?

DoS stands for denial of service, while DDOS stands for distributed denial of service. During a DOS attack, only one device is used to send a large number of packets to the server. On the other hand, DDOS attacks are carried out by using multiple systems or devices to attack the server. Essentially, DDOS attacks are a subset of DOS attacks. DDOS attacks are generally more dangerous than DOS. The goal of both attacks is to make a system, network, server, or application unavailable to legitimate users due to its overload with packets.

Are there DDOS penetration tests?

Yes, it is possible to check how well a server, network, or application can resist a DDOS attack by conducting DOS or DDOS testing as part of a pentest. Generally, hackers can use two strategies when carrying out these attacks: they can try to blindly overload the equipment or target a specific vulnerability in the network or system to bring it offline.

Cyber security companies can conduct both DOS and DDOS penetration tests, however, there’s not much you can gain from DDOS testing. Attackers with enough resources will always be able to overload your equipment and render it unavailable. On the other hand, DOS pen-testing can reveal valuable information about vulnerabilities in applications and device configurations, which can then be remedied to prevent attacks from threat actors.

Are there risks involved with DOS pentesting?

As with any penetration test, there are some risks involved. For instance, your systems might experience a decrease in performance or your server could crash, but the latter is a worst-case-scenario situation. It is important to remember that conducting a DOS or DDOS penetration test actually helps to reduce the risks of a real attack, so the dangers associated with conducting the tests are a small price to pay for real-life security.

What tools are used for DOS and DDOS tests?


This is an open-source tool for crafting packets. The program allows you to set packet type and the rate at which the packets will be sent to the server. Overall, this is a terrific program for simulating DOS attacks, testing firewalls, conducting OS fingerprinting, network testing, port scanning, uptime guessing, etc.


GoldenEye is another piece of open-source DDOS attack testing software. The application is based on HULK but it differs from its predecessor significantly, as it doesn’t just send packets to the server, it also simulates the users staying connected to the server. This program is perfect for carrying out stress tests on networks and applications.


HULK or Http Unbearable Load King is a program created by cybersecurity expert Barry Shteiman. This tool effectively finds its way around caching and attacks the server directly with unique packets. Unlike many other DDOS testing tools that utilize a predictable pattern when sending the packets, making the attack easier to detect and stop, HULK makes each request unique. This tool also allows you to carry out the simulated attack safely with the ability to control and stop it at any time.


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    Vitaly is a principal consultant at Hackcontrol as wall as aa business and IT thought leader. He has over 15 years of experience in consulting, account management and is a specialist in cybersecurity.