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Damaging DDoS attacks on the rise in New Zealand

15 Apr 2015

DDoS attacks in New Zealand are damaging, with fragmentation attacks dominating in this region and attackers increasingly gravitating towards reflection/amplification attacks as their threat vector of choice.

Arbor Networks, the provider of DDoS and advanced threat protection solutions, has released Q1 DDoS attack data for New Zealand, and highlights how this region stacks up against the rest of Asia Pacific.

New Zealand had a higher proportion of attacks under 1Gbps (92%) compared to the rest of APAC (89%) in Q1 2015.

SSDP and NTP top the list of attack types in Q1 2015, with the largest reflection attack of 10.44 Gbps (SSDP) targeted at port 80. This destination port only made up 4% of the attacks compared with 18% in Asia-Pacific, says Arbor.

Most (86%) of New Zealand’s attack destination ports were fragmentation attacks (port 0) compared with just 8% for Asia-Pacific.

The average attack length was much shorter than most of Asia-Pacific at just over 12 minutes versus 46 minutes and 98% were less than an hour.

In the past year, Arbor has documented a dramatic increase in DDoS attack size and activity.

The majority of these very large attacks leverage a reflection amplification technique using the Network Time Protocol (NTP), Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) and DNS servers, with large numbers of significant attacks being detected all around the world.

Reflection amplification is a technique that allows an attacker to both magnify the amount of traffic they can generate, and obfuscate the original sources of that attack traffic.

This technique is possible for two reasons, according to Arbor.

First, around a half of service providers do not implement filters at the edge of their network to block traffic with a ‘forged’ (spoofed) source IP address.

Second, there are plenty of poorly configured and poorly protected devices on the internet providing UDP services that offer an amplification factor between a query sent to them and the response which is generated. 

 Nick Race, Arbor Networks New Zealand country manager, says, “The domination of fragmentation attacks reported in Q1 in New Zealand is interesting and they are likely to be resulting from various reflection/amplification attacks.

“Fragmentation attacks are nothing new, but it does demonstrate the attackers are constantly changing attack vectors in an effort to evade expectations so Kiwi organisations require automated defences to protect against them.

“Operators in New Zealand absolutely should take note. On-premise DDoS protection is essential for both detection and mitigation of attacks, enabling bad traffic to be scrubbed in an immediate and automated fashion.

“Additionally, integrating that on-premises protection to the cloud is also critical; this is where Arbor’s Cloud Signaling technology plays an important role,” he says.

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