Imperva Incapsula’s latest Global DDoS Threat Landscape Report is an analysis of more than 17,000 network and application layer DDoS attacks mitigated by our services during the first quarter 2017.
For the fourth quarter in a row, we saw a decrease in the number of network layer assaults, which fell to 269 per week compared to 568 in the second quarter 2015. In contrast, we saw yet another spike in the number of application layer assaults, which reached an all-time high of 1,099 per week.
The largest application layer attack we mitigated this quarter peaked at over 176,000 RPS—already higher than the largest attack we saw in 2016, which peaked at approximately 173,000 RPS.
On a macro level, we saw DDoS attacks continue to evolve in terms of complexity and persistence, while also growing shorter in duration.
Attacks Are Growing Shorter, More Complex and Persistent
In the first quarter 2017, we witnessed yet another decrease in average attack duration, attesting to the prevalence of botnet-for-hire services (a.k.a. booters or stressers). that enable their users to launch short, low-volume bursts. Such attack tools are commonly used by non-professional offenders, often internet trolls who use DDoS to settle a personal dispute or to simply harass their victims.
Overall, 80% of all DDoS attacks lasted less than one hour and, for the first time, 90% of network layer attacks lasting less than 30 minutes, compared to 78.2% in the fourth quarter 2016.
At the same time, we continued to observe a higher level of sophistication in DDoS offenders, reflected by a steep rise in multi-vector attacks. In the first quarter 2017, these accounted for more than 40% of all network layer assaults, up from 29% in the fourth quarter.
In the first quarter of the year, we saw attacks grow more persistent. Specifically, 74% of targets suffered repeat attacks during the quarter, with 19% being attacked 10 times or more—in both cases these numbers were the highest ever on record. In the most extreme case, an established US-based science news website was hit 1,046 times by low-volume bursts lasting 10 minutes or less.
In terms of worldwide botnet activity, almost 69 percent of all DDoS attack requests came from China (50.8%, South Korea (10.8%) and the United States (7.2%).
Consistent with previous quarters, the United States, United Kingdom and Japan continued to top the list of most targeted countries. For the first time in the past year, they were joined by Singapore and Israel.