DDoS Attacks Increase in Volume and Duration in Q1 2018

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack events are on the rise in the first quarter of 2018. That’s the word from a recent Kaspersky Lab study, which found “a significant increase in both the total number and duration of DDoS attacks against Q4 2017.”

Synchronized (SYN) attacks remain the most popular vector, accounting for 57.3 percent of the total volume of incidents. In addition, over 95 percent of all DDoS attack reports came from the top 10 countries, out of 79 total.

DDoS Attacks Increase in Length and Breadth

It’s not all bad news: The share of Linux botnets fell from 71 percent last year to 66 percent in Q1 2018. But the growth of specific botnet classes, such as Darkai, prompted a return to multiday DDoS attacks. The Kaspersky report noted that one attack lasted 297 hours — more than 12 days — which is the longest attack since 2015.

While these multiday events aren’t common, the report revealed a sixfold increase in sustained attacks, or those lasting longer than 50 hours. At the same time, short-term attacks are on the rise, up to 91.47 percent of all attacks from 85.5 percent last year.

Kaspersky also noted that amplification attacks are ramping up again, this time using Memcached and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) vectors rather than network time protocol (NTP) and Domain Name System (DNS)-based boosting. The authors warned that, as the year goes on, this could prove troublesome on the Dark Web because it “has one of the biggest amplification factors.”

Progress on the DDoS Attack Front

In addition to the sheer number of attacks, companies must contend with cost. A survey by Corero Network Security found that organizations spend up to $50,000 dealing with a single attack.

Reputational damage is also an issue. According to Security Boulevard, after an online poker site fell victim to multiple DDoS attack events in late April, many users became frustrated, arguing that the company’s “technical and management expertise is zilch” and calling for it to “make it right.”

There is some progress on the DDoS attack front. According to Forbes, European law enforcement recently shut down a website that sold DDoS attacks and helped launch them for millions of paying customers. The agency warned companies and individuals to stop using DDoS “stresser” services or face legal repercussions.

Taking Out the Garbage Traffic

According to Kaspersky, attacks in early March against code sharing site GitHub hit record volumes of “garbage” traffic at more than 1 TB per second using Memcached.

The security firm said it expects this traffic trend to continue this year. It predicted that “server owners will quickly spot the abundance of garbage traffic and patch up vulnerabilities, which will dent the popularity of attacks of this type.”

As noted above, however, amplification attacks may shift to LDAP services as threat actors look for ways to improve DDoS throughput.

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Douglas Bonderud

Freelance Writer

A freelance writer for three years, Doug Bonderud is a Western Canadian with expertise in the fields of technology and...