Under DDoS attack? Look for something worse

Kaspersky: Attackers distract security teams with DDoS attacks, then hit with malware

When businesses are hit by noticeable distributed denial-of-service attacks, three-quarters of the time those attacks are accompanied by another security incident, according to Kaspersky Lab.

Those other attacks may or may not originate from the same party, but they can go undetected if IT staff is totally focused on defending against the DDoS, says Evgeny Vigovsky, head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection.

“In many cases, it may be a coordinated effort, but even if these attacks originate from different sources, IT staff have to allocate resources to solve two problems at the same time, under a lot of stress,” Vigovsky says. Kaspersky polled top managers and IT pros at 5,500 companies in 26 countries about their experiences with DDoS attacks.

While many attackers do use DDoS as a smokescreen to hide data-stealing or network-damaging attempts, it’s difficult to attribute them for sure, he says. But even if they are unrelated, the fact that they arrive simultaneously – even by chance – a high percentage of the time means security staff should make sure their DDoS-mitigation plan includes resources to look for other incursions.

“The conclusion is straightforward: although DDoS attacks are highly damaging, businesses should not devote 100% of their resource to remediate them. Instead they should keep an eye on the entire state of corporate security,” he says.

Half the time DDoS attacks go unnoticed by end users, but about a quarter of the time they completely shut down services, the survey says.

About a quarter of attacks result in loss of data, possibly carried out by accompanying attacks, he says. The incidence of DDoS attacks lags behind malware, phishing and network intrusions, the survey says.

The No.1 target of DDoS is corporate Web sites, with customer portals/logins coming in second (38%) and communications services coming in a close third (37%).

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