Notable Increase in Web Attacks

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As reported by the BBC, 2014 saw more DDoS attacks over 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) than in the previous year, with the highest being 400Gbps. I asked Mark James, ESET security specialist, a few question about this rise in attacks.

The BBS article focuses on a report compiled by Arbor Networks, which looks at 10 years of DDoS attacks.

I’ve covered Lizard Squads extensive use of DDoS attacks more than once over the past few months, most recently their supposed attack on Facebook.


“A couple of main reasons…”


I asked Mark James why he thought we’ve seen an increase in attacks over the past year.

“I think there are a couple of main reasons, one being the attention it brings from the media, one of the primary goals seems to be fame or notoriety. If the attack makes it onto the news it forces chatter about the group and therefore boosts their status.”

This is certainly something we’ve seen from Lizard Squad for example. They have been very vocal with threats and quick to claim responsibility for their attacks. One of their members even said that Lizard Squad was entirely about money for him.

“The second reason has to do with the number of tools and services available to hire in order to achieve a DDOS. If you’re in the market to cause havoc by this means of attack it’s not that hard to find the means to do so.”


“As long as it’s effective…”


I also asked Mark whether he thought this trend was likely to continue.

“I think it will continue as long as it’s effective. As computers get quicker and broadband gets faster the job just gets easier. It’s been around since 1998, so I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon: at least not until a cost effective means surfaces for protection against DDOS it will be part of our daily news.”

Do these findings, and the fact that we are seeing more and more hacks in the news, mean we are seeing a “Hacking golden age” of sorts?

“The media plays a big part in bringing awareness of what’s going on around the world. In the early days Malware was written for that “15 mins of fame”: to see your work make CNN was a mark of success.

“DDOS appears to be the revival of that. The concept has been used to extort money from the website owner to stop the attack but nowadays seems more of an achievement type scenario: choosing bigger and fatter targets.”

That certainly does seem to be Lizard Squad’s agenda: although they might make a little money, choosing bigger targets which gain them more notoriety seems to be the priority.

Marks does however remind me that “often these attacks go hand in hand with data theft” and that a “DDoS could be used as a smoke screen while an attack goes on in the background”.

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Have you ever been effected by a DDoS attack?