DDoS attackers launched a 277-hour attack against a Chinese telecom company in the second quarter of 2017, registering a 131% hourly increase compared to the longest attack recorded earlier this year, according to a report released this week by Kaspersky Lab.
The 2017 DDoS Intelligence Report, which culls data from botnets detected and analyzed by Kaspersky Lab, says that the Chinese telecom siege that spanned more than 11 days is also, so far, a record for the year, demonstrating that long-lasting DDoS attacks have re-emerged.
But pinpointing the reason for this rise is difficult. "There is no explanation why the length grew – such fluctuation happens from time to time," says Oleg Kupreev, lead malware and anti-botnet analyst for Kaspersky Lab.
The most powerful attack that the Kaspersky report notes occurred in the second quarter. It was 20GB per second, Kupreev says, adding that it lasted about an hour and used the connectionless User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Usually, most UDP flood attackers are not more than 4GB per second, he says.
According to a Corero Network Security report, low-volume DDoS attacks still represent a majority of the sieges against networks.
DDoS Attack Footprint Expands
During the second quarter, the number of countries facing DDoS attacks jumped to 86 countries verses 72 in the first quarter, according to the report. The top 10 countries hit with attacks include the US, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, UK, Russia, Italy, France, Canada, and the Netherlands.
"Online resources in one country can often be located on servers in another country – mostly in China, US, South Korea, and this is why these countries are always among the most targeted," Kupreev says.
Italy posted a 10-fold increase in DDoS attacks while the Netherlands experienced a 1.5x increase, which pushed Vietnam and Denmark off the top 10 list, according to the Kaspersky report.
Ransom Without DDoS Attacks Rise
A popular twist to ransom DDoS attack threats emerged in the second quarter, says Kupreev. Cybercrimminals would distribute their ransom threats to pay up or face a DDoS attack to a large group of companies, he says. But rather than send a short-term DDoS attack to show they mean business, no demo is sent with the hope that the company will pay the ransom on the threat alone, he explains.
"Any fraudster who doesn’t even have the technical knowledge or skill to organize a full-scale DDoS attack can purchase a demonstrative attack for the purpose of extortion," adds Kirill Ilganaev, head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection at Kaspersky Lab. "These people are mostly picking unsavvy companies that don’t protect their resources from DDoS in any way and therefore, can be easily convinced to pay ransom with a simple demonstration."
Despite a growing interest by cyberthieves to conduct a DDoS-less ransom scheme or a full-fledge DDoS Ransom attack, Kupreev says he does not expect this form of extortion to overtake normal DDoS attacks anytime soon.
"The share of 'normal' DDoS attacks will always outnumber RDDoS, as there are many other reasons behind DDoS attacks in addition to money extortion: unfair competition, political struggle, hacktivism, smokescreening etc.," Kupreev says. "Moreover, unavailability of online resources for many companies can be even more damaging than [the] amount of extortion."
Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio