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Risk

1/20/2010
08:02 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Denial-of-Service Attack Intensity Grows

A survey of 132 network operators and telecommunication providers reveal that Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks is the top day-to-day security challenge facing service providers.

A survey of 132 network operators and telecommunication providers reveal that Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks is the top day-to-day security challenge facing service providers.The information comes from network security firm Arbor Networks' annual Infrastructure Security Report. The fifth annual report is available here, although registration is required.

In 2009, peak sustained DDoS attacks rate hit 49 Gbps. In previous years, this report showed the peak DDoS attack rates doubling year over year, reaching 40 Gbps. In 2001 DDoS attacks peaked at 400 Mbps. Over the next year, survey respondents believe more sophisticated service and application attacks are on the way. Interestingly, more than half of the survey respondents witnessed growth in service-level attacks at one gigabit or less. These attacks are typically directly targeting specific services, hoping to bring crucial transactions to a crawl.

The report also cites several multi-hour service provider outages caused by attacks targeting distributed domain name system (DNS) infrastructure, load balancers and large-scale SQL server back-end infrastructure.

Going forward, there are some structural concerns with the Internet that could increase security risks, these include the predicted IPv4 address exhaustion and the preparedness for migration to IPv6, and DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC). In a statement, Jennifer Pigg, vice president, Enabling Technologies, at the research firm Yankee Group said the changes could provide disruptive:

"Earlier major architecture changes were implemented when the Internet was an experimental network with little or no relevance to most people. Today, the majority of global business networks are entirely reliant on Internet availability, stability and integrity. With the introduction of DNSSEC, IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 deployment, these networks are facing a perfect storm: multiple, simultaneous, large-scale changes."

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