Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks (DDoS) were a major threat to businesses big and small throughout 2013. By simply taking control over a few key systems through a Trojan-style virus, lone hackers can shut down everything from websites to phone lines by simply spamming more traffic than the system can handle. Once an attack starts, it's hard to regain control. Blocking a single IP address would work if the attacks originated from individual systems, but DDoS attacks are spread to hundreds or even thousands of IP signatures.
The real danger is the fact that hackers are getting more creative, and DDoS attacks are more sophisticated than ever. Cyber criminals range everywhere from wealthy foreign IT experts with polished hardware to sweaty teenagers who live in front of their computer screens. DDoS attacks are evolving, and security firms are being purchased at an alarming rate to counteract this.
Fortunately, these trends were recorded by one of the leaders in DDoS prevention, Prolexic Technologies. Prolexic collected data from their global client base over the past year in order to document what trends are present in DDoS attacks, and what could be done to prevent them in the future.
The bad news is, that Prolexic reported an increase in almost all categories for DDoS attacks. Overall, attacks increased to over one third as many as there were in 2012, and they are approaching with different avenues. Some of the most popular attacks were small and stealthy, designed to do small and hopefully unnoticeable amounts of damage over long periods of time. Others had a very high bandwidth and volume, and while these attacks are dealt with promptly they still deal a high amount of damage in a short period of time. Even more troubling is that they've reported that mobile devices and apps are also contributing to the party.
Luckily, Prolexic was able to report these attacks because they prevented them in the first place. Even though attacks are increasing in size and frequency, security experts can manage to stay one step ahead by analyzing the data and preparing for the next year. There are several challenges involved in predicting what kinds of attacks the next year will bring, and the number of hackers trying to breach sensitive systems will only grow. If last year was any indication of what to expect for this year, then the attacks are likely to continue to grow. However, being aware of the problem is the first step towards preventing it.