Prolexic’s latest report on Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks has shown that, compared to this time last year, the number of attacks has increased by 22%. The report also shows that the average attack bandwidth has increased by 72%, while the average peak bandwidth has risen by 241%.
On the positive side, the report states that attack duration has decreased by 54% from an average of 38 hours to 17 hours. Attacks may last for a shorter period, but those attacks are now more frequent and more powerful.
A DDoS attack is an attempt to make a computer network unavailable to its intended users, normally by targeting it with so much data that it slows the network down and renders it unresponsive to its intended users. The largest reported DDoS attack to date was when a client of CloudFlare was targeted, with the peak of this attack reaching 400 gigabits per second.
With the threat of cyber attack increasing – something identified in the Business Continuity Institute’s Horizon Scan report, which shows that 73% of business continuity professionals are either’concerned’ or ‘extremely concerned’ by this threat materialising – the technology to counter such attacks has also developed. This could explain why the length of attacks has decreased – as one attack fails, the attacker quickly moves on to an easier target.
Gaming, software and media worlds hit hard
While the length of the attacks has – on average – halved since last year, it’s still worth noting that 17 hours could result in a major outage for the organisation being attacked. If that organisation is reliant upon its network then the consequences may well be dire.
The Prolexic report also reveals the industries most targeted by these types of attack. The gaming industry was the main victim, accounting for nearly half (46%) of all attacks. The report suggests that “gaming attacks are frequently motivated by players trying to gain a competitive advantage, or by malicious actors seeking to steal personal data from players.”
The software and technology industry and the media and entertainment sector accounted for 22% and 15% of attacks respectively, while the financial sector accounts for 10% of all attacks.
The United States was the origin of most attacks, accounting for over 20%. Having not appeared on the list at all in the previous report, Japan wasn’t too far behind with 18% while China accounted for 12% of attacks and Germany 10%.