Dubai: Cybercriminals launched around 5.4 million Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks in the first half of this year — an increase of 11 per cent over the same period in 2020.
According to a Netscout threat intelligence report, DDoS is a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic.
Netscout, a leading security vendor, told Gulf News on the sidelines of Gitex Technology week, that DDoS attacks achieve effectiveness by utilising multiple compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic. Exploited machines can include computers and other networked resources, such as any collection of internet-connected gadgets like cameras, refrigerators and smart speakers.
‘Invading’ a network
“A DDoS attack is like an unexpected traffic jam clogging up the highway, preventing regular traffic from arriving at its destination. It is targeting your devices and the internet service providers in your country. It restricts your access to your resources by bringing it down and thereby allowing attackers to invade your network,” Emad Fahmy, Systems Engineering manager at Netscout told Gulf News.
He said that the DDoS extortion attacks continue to threaten organisations of all sizes and across multiple industries everywhere — even in UAE as there is a heavy internet usage here. “Sometimes there are two types of hackers working together, with one of them launching DDoS attacks to bring the service provider down and the second hacking government entities or companies’ devices, especially in the telecommunication and financial sectors,” Fahmy added.
Every year, DDoS attacks are becoming more common as our lives are becoming more digital. Hackers try to attack what people consume the most. The pandemic has only accelerated it as we are mostly sitting at home and networking.
Reasons behind increase in DDoS attacks
Netscout said the COVID-19 pandemic had essentially handed threat actors the keys to an all-you-can-eat buffet of malicious opportunities that triggered an enormous and extended upswing in attacker innovation. “We are seeing an increase of 11 per cent in DDoS attacks worldwide this year because during the pandemic, people used the internet a lot more and were therefore more vulnerable to these cyber attacks,” said Fahmy.
According to a Netscout report, fortunately, number of these attacks have fallen marginally between May and June this year. However, the world is still on track to hitting close to a record-breaking 11 million DDoS attacks in 2021.
Meanwhile, Gaurav Mohan, vice-president sales, SAARC and Middle East at Netscout, thinks the increase of DDoS attacks is not only a result of the pandemic, but is also due to increased internet usage worldwide in general.
“Every year, DDoS attacks are becoming more common as our lives are becoming more digital. Hackers try to attack what people consume the most. The pandemic has only accelerated it as we are mostly sitting at home and networking,” Mohan explained.
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‘Solutions against cyberattacks’
He pointed that there are various ways in which attackers can launch a DDoS attack. “Netscout is improving the solutions against cyberattacks as well and constantly developing our researches. We are trying to be a step ahead of them [attackers] as they only need a very small window to launch these attacks.”
According to Mohan, Netscout has a presence in the UAE and is securing a large part of the country’s network. “Our business is to block any chance of an attack. Cyberattacks have a noticeable impact on everybody and cause damages worth multiple billions of US dollars. One minute of breakdown of a large service network will have a huge impact on a lot of people.”
The new vectors in DDoS is attackers changing their mode of operation. They try to know the weak points in a network before launching their attacks. “Our solutions become more knowledgeable as we must be smarter than the attackers,” Mohan concluded.