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Ukraine Invasion Driving DDoS Attacks to All-Time Highs

Unprecedented numbers of DDoS attacks since February are the result of hacktivists' cyberwar against Russian state interests, researchers say.

The first quarter of 2022 saw a 46% increase in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks over Q4 2021, which a new report attributes to a community of "hacktivists" intent on disrupting Russian state interests in retaliation for the Ukraine invasion. 

The report, by security vendor Kaspersky, notes that the volume of DDoS attacks was already historically high, but the first months of 2022 saw more targeted and innovative activity than previously seen. The DDoS attacks also persisted for much longer than previously recorded, with the average DDoS session lasting 80 times longer than during the last months of 2021. 

The report points to one instance from the past quarter where attackers set up a site similar to a popular puzzle game called "2048" to make launching attacks on Russian sites more like a game to recruit others to launch additional attacks. 

"In Q1 2022 we witnessed an all-time high number of DDoS attacks," said Alexander Gutnikov, security expert at Kaspersky, in a statement. "The upward trend was largely affected by the geopolitical situation. What is quite unusual is the long duration of the DDoS attacks, which are usually executed for immediate profit. Some of the attacks we observed lasted for days and even weeks, suggesting that they might have been conducted by ideologically motivated cyberactivists."

Gutnikov pointed out that the report found most organizations were unprepared to defend against DDoS attacks.