Hackers have a variety of tricks and techniques in their armoury, and being able to initiate a DDoS attack is a much-used one. Rather than attempting to guess usernames and passwords in order to steal data from remote systems, DDoS attackers initiate a Denial Of Service Attack by hitting the server so often that it simply crashes under the strain.
Of course, it's not easy to hit a server fast enough from a single hacker's computer to force it offline. So hackers use botnets, or massive groups of compromised PCs, to stage the attack. With all those machines trying to connect to the poor server at once, it doesn't have a hope of staying online.
Digital Attack Map is a web site which shows you, via animated symbols on a map, just where the current large-scale DDoS attacks are coming from, and where they're going to. So if you want to sit and watch lots of coloured symbols move from China to America, for example, and wonder in awe at the sheer scale of the attacks, this is the site for you. It is, to be fair, a fascinating watch.
See it for yourself at http://www.digitalattackmap.com/ on any modern browser.
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