The LOIC meaning is a Low Orbit Ion Cannon which is a DoS launch tool in DDoS attacks. Originally developed as an application for network stress-testing by Praetox Technology, it is open-source and widely used for malicious attacks by hacktivist groups like 4Chan forums intent and Anonymous.
Low Orbit Ion Cannon floods the server targeted with packets of UDP, TCP, or HTTP with the ultimate goal of service disruption. Since one attacker cannot overwhelm the host or generate such volumes of packets users, use the ‘Hivemind’ version of the Low Orbit Ion Cannon with IRC chat channels allowing a single user to control several secondary networked computers, creating a voluntary botnet. Generally, the secondary computers on the attacking botnet, claim to be victims of the botnet.
Low Orbit Ion Cannon LOIC-hiveminds were used by In 2018 Anonymous used LOIV hiveminds to attack the websites of Church of Scientology because they legally wanted to take down YouTube videos (Project Chanology). In 2010 it was used by WikiLeaks supporters on MasterCard and Visa sites for freezing WikiLeak’s payments in what was termed Operation Payback.
Small Low Orbit Ion Cannon HTTP attacks can be overcome through server-administered local firewalls, which scan the logs and, on identifying the attacker’s IPs, drops such requests. Since the LOIC can’t be used through a proxy, its IP address is visible to the targeted host. Countries like UK, USA, Turkey, and Spain have initiated curbing legal action against LOIC attackers. However, larger Low Orbit Ion Cannon attacks cannot be stopped this way, with thousands of distinct tandem attackers overwhelming it. Some UDP/ TCP floods are capable of targeting and disrupting the firewall itself. A WAF or Web Application Firewall does protect against HTTP flood disruptions, and dedicated DDoS protection can halt UDP and TCP attacks.
To use the LOIC, an attacker launches the LOIC DDoS attack application, enters a targeted IP or URL, and decides whether to launch a LOIC dos tool like HTTP, UDP, or TCP to create a flood. While the UDP and TCP attacks send message packets and strings to a selected target port, the HTTP flood mode sends a volley of requests known as GET requests, also called a LOIC attack. Once the application is launched, the targeted server receives multiple connection Low Orbit Ion Cannon requests and starts sending a not-available message. Soon it gets overloaded and slows down, thereby being unable to gather legitimate requests.
The ease of Low Orbit Ion Cannon’s availability makes it a great LOIC tool for the perpetrators to conduct a coordinated attack by recruiting fellow users and sending high volumes of requests in a HOIC attack. The basic difference between the HOIC vs LOIC attacks is volumetric in nature, with several thousands of attackers sending requests all at once, taking the host server out almost instantaneously. Further being open-source, easy to use, and needing no knowledge of how to use LOIC or install it, anyone is in a position to launch a LIOC DDoS attack. But, modern technology and the use of Anycast technology using networked scrubber servers ensure cleaned traffic reaches the host server.
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