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5/15/2012
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What A DDoS Can Cost

Around 65 percent of IT pros say a DDoS costs their organizations $240,000 in lost revenue per day of the attack, and one-fifth say it would mean a loss of $1.2 million per day, new survey finds

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack can cost a victim organization as much as $10,000 to $50,000 per hour in lost revenue, according to a new survey.

Neustar polled 1,000 IT professionals in North America from various industries about DDoS attacks, and among the 300 businesses that said they had suffered one, 35 percent said the attack lasted more than 24 hours, and 11 percent said it lasted more than one week. One in 10 suffered a DDoS for more than a week, according to the data.

Around 65 percent said a DDoS would cost them $240,000 in revenue per day of the attack, or $10,000 per hour; 21 percent said it would mean a loss of $1.2 million per day, or $50,000 per hour. Much of the damage depends on the industry: More than 80 percent of financial-services companies said they would lose more than $10,000 per hour, and close to 70 percent of retailers said they would lose more than $2 million a day, or more than $100,000 per hour in revenue.

Ted Swearingen, director of the security operation center at Neustar, says DDoS attacks are on the rise, and no one is immune. "They are not just going after financial firms [only] ... we are seeing a lot smaller companies being targets," Swearingen says. In some of those smaller targets, the attacks may be motivated by protests, for instance, he says.

"We still want to make sure companies know DDoSes are here and growing bigger and more complex. You can't ignore them and [think], 'It's not going to happen to me,'" he says.

But lost revenue is actually the least of businesses' worries when it comes to DDoS. More than 50 percent said they worry about the affect on customer experience in the wake of a DDoS attack; 25 percent fear brand damage; 19 percent, revenue loss; and 5 percent, job loss.

"When you go down, customer support gets flooded," Swearingen says.

Telecommunications companies suffer the most DDoS attacks as an industry, with 55 percent reporting attacks in the survey, followed by financial services and travel, each at 32 percent. Nearly 30 percent of IT vendors have been hit, and 16 percent of retailers have, according to the Neustar survey.

"Folks in the retail section had been attacked at the lowest percentage, but if you go back and see what that affected, they had the highest cost per hour when they did get attacked," Swearingen says.

Meanwhile, less than 5 percent of the respondents said their infrastructure has been built with DDoS mitigation in mind or with DDoS mitigation tools.

The full DDoS report is available here from Neustar (PDF).

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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kfoster,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/16/2012 | 3:43:39 PM
re: What A DDoS Can Cost
-Don't forget about collateral damage.- You don't even have to be a target at all to get DoS'ed. If another company within your ISP gets hit, it will affect you. Sometimes a router in the same path of a DDoS will not withstand the traffic and you will feel the effects.
A DDoS is not a surgical strike against a single company. It is more like a block buster bomb that takes out not only the building, but the whole neighborhood.
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