The total number of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in 4Q 2021 increased by 52% over 3Q. This percentage is four and a half times more than the same period in 2020.
The findings were reported in Kaspersky’s Report on DDoS attacks in 4Q 2021.
DDoS poses a major threat to businesses and organisations that provide online services, as cybercriminals in this type of attack send a large number of requests to the website that provides services in order to paralyze its ability to process requests from its customers and prevent it from operating. These attacks may last for several days and cause disruption to the business of the target company or organisation.
Kaspersky researchers observed a massive increase in the number of DDoS attacks between October and the end of December 2021, which was a record in the history of Kaspersky detection of this type of threat.
Kaspersky identified several reasons for this growing volume of attacks. The first is that the last three months of each year are always rich in internet activity that encourages criminals to launch DDoS attacks.
There is a peak in shopping and an increase in online retail sales due to the holiday season, as well as the start of the examination period for students and a rise in the mobility of internet activists.
The second reason is the inverse proportion between the size of the DDoS attack market and the cryptocurrency mining market, which is due to the interchangeability of the ability to organise DDoS attacks and cryptocurrency mining, since owners of botnets tend to redirect energy toward mining when the value of cryptocurrencies grows. When they decline, they direct their resource energy towards DDoS attacks.
This is exactly what Kaspersky experts noticed in 4Q of 2021; an increase in the number of DDoS attacks on the back of the then sharp drop in the value of cryptocurrencies.
Most of the DDoS attacks launched in 4Q of 2021 were reported in the US (43.55%), China (9.96%), Hong Kong (8.80%), Germany (4.85%), and France (3.75%).
Alexander Gutnikov, a digital security expert at Kaspersky, said that the DDoS threat landscape is constantly changing to reflect the prevailing economic and social trends at the time, explaining that Kaspersky expected the growth of DDoS attacks in 4Q 2021 due to the holiday season, but the instability of the cryptocurrency market raised the DDoS attack landscape to another new level with a record standard.
“Based on the trends we have seen in previous years, it can be argued that 1Q of 2022 will not show a significant reduction in DDoS attacks, which is why we urge companies to employ professional solutions to protect themselves from DDoS attacks,” he added.
Kaspersky experts recommend companies to take the following measures to protect against DDoS attacks:
• Maintaining continuity of web resource operations by hiring professionals who understand how to respond to DDoS attacks.
• Verify agreements with third parties and contact information, including with internet service providers, to enable relevant teams to quickly access agreements in the event of an attack.
• Implement professional solutions to protect against DDoS attacks. Kaspersky DDoS Protection, for example, combines Kaspersky’s extensive experience in combating digital threats with the unique developments of each company.
• Traffic monitoring using network and application monitoring tools to identify traffic trends. By understanding typical traffic patterns and characteristics for a company, a baseline can be established with which to more easily identify any unusual activity that may be a DDoS attack.
• Develop a back-up plan ready to act as a constrained defensive posture, allowing the company to quickly restore critical services in the face of a DDoS attack.