Top DDoS attack trends of 2013 identified

2014-01-22 13:00
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - As more people go online on both smartphones and computers, hackers are increasing their sophistication to target both individuals and companies who make use of internet technologies as part of their business ethic.

Security firm Prolexic Technologies found that in 2013, the use of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were on an upward trend as criminals evolved in the ability to target victims.

Unlike a virus or other malware, DDoS attacks can be carried out on any computer connected to the internet and the attack disrupts the ability of the machine to communicate with authorised users of the network.

In some cases criminals carry out attacks to blackmail companies and in more recent cases, DDoS attacks have been used as a form of protest.

In SA during 2013, IOL, the online division of Independent Newspapers, was hit by an attack in retaliation for publishing an article deemed supportive of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

Prolexic identified the following top trends in the threat landscape in terms of DDoS attacks so that individuals and can better prepare themselves.

Top 10 DDoS attack trends for 2013:

1.    DDoS attack volume continued to rise with Prolexic mitigating 32.43% more attacks in 2013 than it did in 2012.
2.    DDoS attack volume also increased month-to-month in 2013, with 10 out of 12 months showing higher attack volume compared to 2012.
3.    Smaller, stealthy and more sophisticated application layer (Layer 7) attacks increased approximately 42%.
4.    High bandwidth, volumetric infrastructure layer (Layer 3 and 4) attacks increased approximately 30%.
5.    DNS, UDP, and UDP fragmentation floods, as well as CHARGEN, were the attack vectors that showed the most adoption in 2013.
6.    SYN and ICMP floods were the attack vectors that showed the most decline in use.
7.    Average DDoS attack sizes continued to increase with Prolexic mitigating numerous attacks over 100Gbps, the largest peaking at 179Gbps.
8.    Reflected amplification attacks emerged as a very popular attack method.
9.    Mobile devices and apps began participating in DDoS campaigns.
10.    DDoS attacks were more likely to originate from Asian countries.

The company said that institutions should ensure that they are prepared to face the threats that can have a significant impact on operations.
"In addition to increasing vigilance and knowledge, enterprises should also validate services from any mitigation providers they have retained to ensure the latest threats can be blocked quickly and effectively," said Stuart Scholly, president of Prolexic.

This YouTube video shows how to prevent a DDoS attack
Read more on:    cybercrime

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