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DDoS Attacks Occur on Average Every 2 Minutes, Security Firm Finds

Every two minutes, a distributed denial-of-service [DDoS] attack is occurring somewhere on the Web – actually 1.29 DDoS attacks to be exact.

Every two minutes, a distributed denial-of-service [DDoS] attack is occurring somewhere on the Web – actually 1.29 DDoS attacks to be exact.

According to a DDoS threat report (PDF) from security vendor NSFOCUS detailing attack trends gleaned from observing 168,459 attacks during the first half of the year, most of the incidents are relatively short and small. Some 93.2 percent of the attacks last less than 30 minutes, and 80.1 did not surpass a traffic rate of 50 Mbps.

Unfortunately for victims, 68.7 percent suffered more than attack, a figure that is up nearly 30 percent compared to 2012. Only 31.1 suffered a single DDoS attack, which was down from nearly 50.7 percent last year.

Among the 90 high-profile attacks reported by the media – such as attacks by hacker groups like Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters and Anonymous – the report found that 91.1 percent of the incidents were motivated by hacktivism.

“Profit-driven cybercriminals pay close attention to ‘hackernomics,’ deploying whatever form of attack causes the most damage with minimal effort,” said Frank Ip, vice president of U.S. operations for NSFOCUS, in a statement. “For this reason, we expect application-layer attacks to remain the most common method of attack in the near term, and we anticipate a greater adoption of this method in the future.”

According to NSFOCUS, TCP Flood and HTTP Flood remained the most popular attack methods, and accounted for 38.7 percent and 37.2 percent of attacks, respectively. Hybrid attacks also became more prevalent, with ICMP+TCP+UDP Flood serving as the most common combination.

Increasingly, denial-of-service attacks are occurring from and within online gaming communities, according to a new report from DDoS-mitigation firm Prolexic. The attacks have been used against other gamers, gaming platforms and third-party targets such as financial services and other businesses, the company noted.

In one example, the attackers increased the power of their attack against a financial services firm with reflection and amplification techniques. Sending a small request to one gaming server produced an outsized response that was five times larger than the initial request. The attackers then co-opted hundreds of gaming servers to produce the same outsized responses at once and against the financial firm.

“This attack targeted Call of Duty 2 gaming servers across the globe – in South Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States,” said Stuart Scholly, president of Prolexic, in a statement..  “PLXsert has replicated the attack in our lab.”

“DDoS attacks fueled by rivalries, poor password security protocols and readily available DDoS tools are widespread and harm gaming and non-gaming targets alike,” Scholly said. “There are serious repercussions for every industry from denial of service attacks that feed off the explosive growth of online gaming infrastructures.”

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