Why are DDoS attacks becoming increasingly common?

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are becoming more common, bigger, and more complex. The average size of an attack was over 21 Gbps in the last quarter of 2021, up fourfold from early 2020. The biggest attack in 2020 was 253 Gbps, while the biggest the following year weighed in at a whopping 1,4 Tbps.
DDoS attackThe pandemic, the war, and other facilitating factors

Digital services grew markedly during the pandemic, which sped up digital transformation. More devices went online as a result, and organizations became more heavily dependent on digital services. Another factor involved the mass shift to remote work. Digital assets like cryptocurrencies increased in importance as well.

The escalation in geopolitical conflict last year contributed to a further increase in hacktivist attacks. Ukraine experienced almost 660 percent more DDoS attacks in 2022.

All of these elements resulted in an increase not only in the number but also in the scope of DDoS attacks.

New records expected in 2023

Cybercriminals are incentivized to control or disrupt online services. They carry out DDoS attacks using botnets, which are inexpensive and easy to come by. The barrier to entry for targeting a site with the purpose of blackmail or extortion is relatively low, and the prospects of a successful attack are pretty good.

Experts predict the tendency of large-scale DDoS attacks will continue throughout 2023. They anticipate increased frequency and volume of attacks, reaching new heights. Having a robust security plan is more important than ever.

How do DDoS attacks work?

A person perpetrating a simple DoS attack uses a single source to target a system. However, a DDoS attack floods a company’s server network with a myriad of requests from different sources using botnets. They can also use those attacks as a decoy for phishing or ransomware to disrupt corporate activity.

Blocking one attack source isn’t enough to protect an organization from DDoS attacks. As thousands of illegitimate requests flood an organization’s system, its sites, VPN, VoIP, and other services fail to respond to genuine requests, damaging its operations.

The most common DDoS attacks in 2021 were so-called volumetric attacks. They flood a target’s system with excessive bandwidth using publicly accessible tools and services. Volumetric attacks made up almost two-thirds of all recorded attacks.

Which sectors are most vulnerable?

Finance, banking, and insurance services were the most frequent target in 2021 – over 25% of all DDoS attacks were against companies in this industry. Attacks against it had been rising steadily since the previous year.

Technology was the most targeted industry in 2020, but it was fourth the following year, behind education and telecommunications. These four sectors accounted for three-quarters of all attacks on record. Industries like retail, energy, transport, and healthcare saw minimal attacks.

Efficacy isn’t time-bound

Many DDoS attacks last only a few minutes, but that doesn’t mean one should question their efficacy. Malicious entities are aware that even a brief disruption to service can have dire consequences on an organization’s reputation.

As these attacks become more sophisticated and numerous, companies will seek to deploy a wider variety of protective measures, such as controls to check and limit endpoint traffic.