Increasing Size Of Individual DDoS Attacks Define Third Quarter, According To Prolexic’s Report

During Q3, Prolexic mitigated seven DDoS attacks of more than 20 Gbps

October 20, 2012

4 Min Read


HOLLYWOOD, FL – (October 17, 2012) – Prolexic Technologies, the global leader in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection services, today announced that the size of DDoS attacks increased significantly against its global client base in Q3 2012. This spike is one of a number of key findings contained in the company's Quarterly Global DDoS Attack Report, which was published today.

During Q3, Prolexic mitigated seven DDoS attacks of more than 20 Gigabits per second (Gbps) for different clients across multiple industries. A number of these denial of service attacks leveraged the PHP-based bot toolkit called itsoknoproblembro that has been used in some recent high-profile DDoS attacks.

"Last year, a DDoS attack in excess of 20 Gigabits per second was notable, but today it seems commonplace," said Stuart Scholly, president of Prolexic. "To put this in perspective, very few enterprises in the world have a network infrastructure with the capacity to withstand bandwidth floods of this size."

Other highlights from Prolexic's Q3 2012 Global DDoS Attack Report

Compared to Q2 2012

· 14% decline in total number of attacks

· 11% increase in average attack bandwidth

· Slight increase in average attack duration to 19 hours from 17 hours

· Packet per second volume increase of 33

· China joined by the United States as the top source countries for DDoS attacks

Compared to Q3 2011

· 88% increase in total number of DDoS attacks

· Significant decrease in average attack duration: 19 hours vs. 33 hours

· 230% increase in average attack bandwidth

Analysis and emerging trends

While the size of individual DDoS attack campaigns increased, the number of attacks against Prolexic's global client based declined 14% this quarter when compared to Q2 2012. However, Prolexic logged more DDoS attacks last quarter than ever before, so attack volume continues to be robust. This statistic is illustrated by an 88% increase in denial of service attack volume when compared to Q3 2011.

This quarter, average attack bandwidth totaled 4.9 Gbps, up 11% from 4.4 Gbps in the previous quarter. Average packet-per-second (pps) volume continued its upward trajectory, increasing 33% over the previous quarter, rising from 2.7 mpps to 3.6 mpps.

Like last quarter, traditional Layer 3 and Layer 4 infrastructure DDoS attacks were by far the favored attack type, accounting for four out of five attacks during the quarter with application Layer 7 DDoS attacks making up the remainder. Five different attack types were commonly used in attack campaigns this quarter, including SYN floods (23.53 percent), UDP floods (19.63 percent), ICMP floods (17.79 percent), GET floods (13.50 percent), and UDP fragment floods (9.00 percent).

Interestingly, Prolexic also observed some uncommon attack types during the three month period, including SYN PUSH, FIN PUSH, and RIP floods. "In the attacks Prolexic mitigated, RIP floods were utilized in a reflection attack," said Scholly. "RIP is a legacy routing protocol not typically used as a DDoS attack vector. The inclusion of unexpected protocols in attack campaigns highlights the continued evolution and threat of DDoS toolkits."

One year ago, Prolexic tracked nine different attack types. With the addition of SYN PUSH, FIN PUSH and RIP floods, among others, types of tracked attacks have doubled to 18. "What this illustrates is the continued desire of attackers to search for new ways to deliver payloads against targets and bypass standard mitigation techniques," said Scholly.

As in all previous Prolexic quarterly DDoS attack reports, China (35 percent) is the top source country for distributed denial of service attack traffic. The United States jumped to second place, rising from 8% last quarter to 27% this quarter. Two newly ranked countries in the Q3 2012 top 10 are the UK (3 percent) and Saudi Arabia (4 percent).

Data for the Q2 2012 report has been gathered and analyzed by the Prolexic Security Engineering & Response Team (PLXsert). The group monitors malicious cyber threats globally and analyzes DDoS attacks using proprietary techniques and equipment. Through digital forensics and post-attack analysis, PLXsert is able to build a global view of DDoS attacks, which is shared with Prolexic customers. By identifying the sources and associated attributes of individual attacks, the PLXsert team helps organizations adopt best practices and make more informed, proactive decisions about DDoS threats.

A complimentary copy of the Prolexic Quarterly Attack Report for Q3 2012 is available as a free PDF download from Prolexic's Q4 2012 report will be released in the first quarter of 2013.

About Prolexic

Prolexic is the world's largest, most trusted Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation provider. Able to absorb the largest and most complex attacks ever launched, Prolexic restores mission-critical Internet-facing infrastructures for global enterprises and government agencies within minutes. Ten of the world's largest banks and the leading companies in e-Commerce, SaaS, payment processing, travel/hospitality, gaming and other at-risk industries rely on Prolexic to protect their businesses. Founded in 2003 as the world's first in-the-cloud DDoS mitigation platform, Prolexic is headquartered in Hollywood, Florida and has scrubbing centers located in the Americas, Europe and Asia. To learn more about how Prolexic can stop DDoS attacks and protect your business, please visit, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube, or follow @Prolexic on Twitter.


Michael E. Donner

SVP, Chief Marketing Officer


[email protected]

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