Project: WASC Threat Classification

Threat Type: Attack

Reference ID: WASC-10


Denial of Service

Denial of Service (DoS) is an attack technique with the intent of preventing a web site from serving normal user activity. DoS attacks, which are easily normally applied to the network layer, are also possible at the application layer. These malicious attacks can succeed by starving a system of critical resources, vulnerability exploit, or abuse of functionality.


Many times DoS attacks will attempt to consume all of a web site’s available system resources such as: CPU, memory, disk space etc. When any one of these critical resources reach full utilization, the web site will normally be inaccessible.

As today’s web application environments include a web server, database server and an authentication server, DoS at the application layer may target each of these independent components. Unlike DoS at the network layer, where a large number of connection attempts are required, DoS at the application layer is a much simpler task to perform.