DDoS Attacks: The New Normal Amidst Pandemic

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks increased by 15% in the first half of 2020 compared to 2019, according to a new report published by Netscout. Meanwhile, attacks by cybercriminals have grown more complicated and sophisticated.

What’s happening?

According to the report, the frequency of the DDoS attacks jumped up to 25% during peak pandemic lockdown months (from March to June).
  • Cybercriminals are now targeting crucial online platforms and services, such as e-commerce, education, finance, and healthcare. 
  • The attackers are now using a freely botnet source code and carrying out their attacks in short bursts to make their campaigns more effective.
  • The rise of IoT devices is another key reason behind increased DDoS attacks due to the lack of or bare minimum security controls.

Recent attacks

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ISPs have gained the center stage in managing and providing essential services required to run businesses. Owing to this, cybercriminals have started targeting ISPs with DDoS attacks to disrupt the services they offer.
  • In early-September, DDoS attacks targeted the DNS infrastructure of multiple ISPs located in Europe. The targeted ISPs were identified as Bouygues Télécom, FDN, SFR, FreedomNet, and Caiway, among others.
  • Recently, Tutanota, an encrypted email service, experienced a series of DDoS attacks. The cybercriminals behind this attack had hit the DNS provider hosting records for Tutanota.

Other findings

Netscout observed around 4.83 million DDoS attacks in the first half of 2020, and attacks using a single vector were dropped up to 43% year over year. The recorded attacks are mostly targeted towards EMEA countries.

Conclusion

The ongoing trend indicates that DDoS attacks could rise further and target internet network infrastructure worldwide. Thus, experts suggest that users to remain vigilant and follow basic security practices such as patching IoT devices, using secure CDNs, and deploying DDoS protection solutions.