12Gbps Australian DDoS amongst year's worst as Google, Arbor visualise attacks

An August 20 distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack originating in Australia and spraying many gigabytes of data per second around the world has been highlighted in striking detail thanks to a real-time map developed by Google and using data from Arbor Networks.

The Google Digital Attack Map maps information about distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks based on their country of origin and destinations.

Complemented with a historical record of global attack data that allows global DDoS activity to be replayed along a time period, the map has been designed to showcase the fluctuating and ongoing global attack profile.

Australia's profile has been relatively flat for most of the year, except for the August 20 spike to more than 12Gbps of attack bandwidth – and lower peaks, of around 2Gbps, on August 11 and September 1 and 3.

The site showcases DDoS attacks of note, with a rogue's gallery of significant attacks reflecting both the diversity of types of attack and the broad range of countries where they originate. Data can be displayed on a world map or in table format. The latter format shows, for example, that the total volume of DDoS traffic on October 22 was 50.911Gbps – well off of the five-month high of 250.469Gbps set on October 15.

Historical trends show overall trends and anomalies by country – and reveal some surprising differences between various countries' profiles.

The Netherlands, for example, has seen a number of significant DDoS spikes throughout the year but is quite rarely targeted in such attacks.

Canada, by contrast, generates almost no DDoS attacks but is targeted more frequently.

New Zealand was hit by a 1.5Gbps DDoS on July 1 but has had almost no DDoS activity for the rest of the past five months.

Google's Collaboration with Arbor Networks is designed to improve visibility of this growing and problematic phenomenon, which gained even more ferocity in the second quarter after increasing use of cloud-based DDoS-as-a-service offerings changed the nature and duration of DDoS attacks.

"By surfacing this data and providing insights on the global patterns of DDoS attacks, we hope that more informed decisions can be made that can reduce the threat of digital attacks," the company said on its site.

The latest Global Threat Report from DDoS research firm Prolexic found that the frequency of DDoS attacks had increased by 58% in the third quarter, compared with the same time a year ago.

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