DDoS attacks reduce in frequency but grow in volume

DDoS bombs

According to the latest quarterly threat report from network security specialist Black Lotus the frequency of DDoS attacks fell by 44 percent in the last quarter of 2014.

However, the average packet volume of attacks increased 340 percent to 4.36 million packets per second (Mpps), and the average bit volume swelled 245 percent to 12.1 gigabits per second (Gbps) over the same period.

The report is based on analysis of Black Lotus' customer network logs. The largest bit volume DDoS attack observed during the report period was 41.1 Gbps on Oct 1, a rise in volume since the beginning of 2014, due to attackers' usage of blended, complex attacks to achieve outages.

Of the 143,410 attacks observed during Q4 2014 49 percent were regarded as severe and more than half (53 percent) of all those mitigated resulted from UDP flood attacks. These cause poor host performance or extreme network congestion by producing large amounts of packets and IP spoofing.

The average attack during the report period was 12.1 Gbps and 4.36 Mpps, tripling average packet volume since the previous quarter. This indicated a continued reliance on using multi-vector attacks, signaling the need for security practitioners to use intelligent DDoS mitigation rather than padding networks with extra bandwidth.

"We found DDoS attacks continued trending down in frequency quarter over quarter, but, on average, attack volumes multiplied," says Shawn Marck, co-founder and chief security officer of Black Lotus. "With networks and IT teams becoming defter at spotting and stopping volumetric attacks, cybercriminals are turning to blended approaches to confuse organizations, often using DDoS attacks as smokescreens for other underhanded activity".

Looking ahead, Black Lotus has revised its estimate of the security measures enterprises will need to protect against the majority of attacks throughout 2015. It now says they'll need to be capable of handling 15 Gbps minimum in bit volume, up from its Q3 prediction of five Gbps minimum. The research team anticipates that attackers will continue to try new DDoS recipes in an effort to confuse security teams and allow agitators to steal user credentials, customer billing information or confidential files.

The full quarterly threat report is available to download from the Black Lotus website.

Photo Credit: Fabio Berti/Shutterstock

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