Security Experts:

Most Americans Are Clueless About DDoS Attacks, Survey

According to a new study from the Public Interest Registry (PIR), the non-profit that operates the .ORG domain, a universal misunderstanding in the general public remains when it comes to one of the most prolific types of attack online.

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attacks, whether conducted as a type of protest or straight up malicious attack, are commonplace worldwide. But according to the data obtained by PIR, 85 percent of Americans are uninformed or ill-equipped to deal with a DDoS attack. Moreover, only 17 percent could correctly identify what the acronym DDoS stood for with 77 percent admitting that they had no idea.

When asked whom should be the first point of call when one experiences a DDoS attack, respondents’ answers varied: A select number correctly identified a DNS Service Provider, but the majority of people said their first point of call would be their local electronic department store. Others cited a technology publication, their spouse or children, Google, or the police, to name a few.

Overall, the higher the household income, the more knowledgeable Americans were on the subject. Yet, regional differences (e.g. East Coast vs. Midwest) were marginal. Likewise, education levels were also not a factor in knowing about DDoS; PIR’s data shows that respondents with college degrees were no more likely than those without to correctly identify DDoS or know what to do if an attack ever happened to them.

“These findings only show that there is real misunderstanding about DDoS across all ages and levels of expertise, so we must do our part to engage with other Internet service providers and registry operators worldwide to discuss how we can be better prepared and prevent future attacks,” said Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry in a statement.

“It’s in all of our interests – public and individual – to ensure that the Internet remains a safe and protected place for all users.”

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.
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