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DDoS attack volume triples

By Catherine Knowles
Mon 30 Mar 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The volume of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are becoming more and more frequent, with the average packet volume for attacks increasing 340% to 4.36 million packets per second (Mpps).

According to the Black Lotus Q4 2014 Threat Report, the average bit volume swelled 245% to 12.1 gigabits per second (Gbps) in the final quarter of 2014.

The increases in average attack packet and bit volume signal a change of attack methods deployed by perpetrators, says Black Lotus.

Cybercriminals are favouring more complex attacks, using multiple vectors and blending application layer, SYN and user-datagram protocol (UDP) flood attacks together.

According to Black Lotus, companies are experiencing a continued drop in attack quantity paired with an increase in volume compared to the previous quarter.

Black Lotus estimates enterprises will need security measures capable of handling 15 Gbps minimum in bit volume, up from its Q3 prediction of five Gbps minimum, to protect against the majority of attacks throughout 2015.

The research team anticipates attackers will continue to try new DDoS recipes to confuse security teams, while agitators steal user credentials, customer billing information or confidential files.

The report shows the largest bit volume DDoS attack observed during the period was 41.1 Gbps, due to attackers’ usage of blended, complex attacks to achieve outages.

Black Lotus says organisations should take care to scrutinise other parts of their systems to guard against credential leaks or other data breaches, as cyberattackers will often use DDoS as a distraction for other nefarious activity.

Overall, of the 143,410 attacks observed during Q4 2014, 49% were regarded as severe, and more than half of all attacks mitigated resulted from UDP flood attacks, which cause poor host performance or extreme network congestion via producing high amounts of packets and IP spoofing.

The average attack during the period reported was 12.1 Gbps, a jump in bit volume, and 4.36 Mpps, tripling average packet volume since last quarter.

This indicated a continued reliance on leveraging multi-vector attacks, signaling the need for security practitioners to tap intelligent DDoS mitigation rather than padding networks with extra bandwidth.

Shawn Marck, Black Lotus co-founder and chief security officer, says, “We found DDoS attacks continued trending down in frequency quarter over quarter, but, on average, attack volumes multiplied.

“With networks and IT teams becoming defter at spotting and stopping volumetric attacks, cybercriminals are turning to blended approaches to confuse organisations, often using DDoS attacks as smokescreens for other underhanded activity."

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