DDoS attacks: Getting bigger and more dangerous all the time

Number of recorded DDoS attacks has almost doubled in a year, warns report.

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Online distributed denial services attack concept with hand wearing black leather glove pressing enter key on metallic laptop keyboard

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Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are more frequent, bigger and more damaging than ever before a new report by internet security firm Verisign has warned.

According to statistic published in the VeriSign Distributed Denial of Service Trends Report, DDoS activity is the highest it's ever been, with the final quarter of 2015 seeing an 85 percent rise in instances - almost double the number of attacks - when compared with the same same period in 2014. The figures for Q4 2015 also represent a 15 percent rise on the previous quarter.

The report also suggests that cyber attackers are getting much more persistent as targets are now being hit by repeated attacks, with some reportedly being the target of DDoS attacks up to 16 times in just three months.

If an increase in attacks isn't worrying enough for potential targets, the size and the amount of damage DDoS attacks can do is also on the rise. The fastest flood attack detected by Verisign occurred during the final quarter of 2015, targeting a company in the telecommunications industry by sending 125 million packets per second (Mpps), and driving a volumetric DDoS attack of 65 gigabits per second (Gbps).

"The 125 Mpps flood is one of the highest packets per second floods ever observed by Verisign, surpassing the previous flood of 91 Mpps mitigated by Verisign in Q2 2014. This attack, aimed at disrupting critical network services, consisted of multiple short bursts in DDoS traffic and continued intermittently for several weeks," says the report.

While that particular attack was made against a company in the telecommunications sector, Verisign has warned that organisations in all industries are potentially at risk from "indiscriminate" DDoS attacks.

Indeed, it was companies which provide IT, cloud, and software services which are currently most targeted, with 32 percent of DDoS attacks made against this sector. However, the number of DDoS incidents media and entertainment providers wasn't far behind, with 30 percent of attacks made against organisations in this industry.

Attacks against the financial sector made up 15 percent of incidents, the public sector accounts for 10 percent and while the biggest DDoS event was recorded against the telecommunications industry, this sector accounts for only 8 percent of DDoS attacks.

In terms of preventing attacks, Verisign recommends organisations "consider augmenting your existing DNS capacity with a cloud-based hosted DNS or managed DNS service".

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