Akamai has blamed greater penetration of the national broadband network (NBN) and increasing use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices for a surge in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that saw DDoS volumes double year-on-year and pushed Australia into the top 10 DDoS source countries for the first time ever.
The change in DDoS attack characteristics was noted in the company's Q2 2015 State of the Internet Security Report, the latest in a series of regular reports from the company's PLXsert security team analysing traffic traversing the company's extensive content distribution network.
DDoS attacks doubled in number from Q2 2014, but Akamai noted a significant change in the nature of those attacks: whereas attacks in recent quarters have tended towards being intense and short in duration, in the most recent quarter most DDoS attacks were less powerful but longer.
Average attack duration increased from 17.35 hours a year ago to 20.64 hours in Q2, even as average peak volume decreased 77.26 percent and average peak bandwidth decreased 11.47 percent compared with a year ago.
“The threat posed by distributed denial of service (DDoS) and web application attacks continues to grow each quarter,” said John Summers, vice president of Akamai's Cloud Security Business Unit, in a statement. “Malicious actors are continually changing the game by switching tactics, seeking out new vulnerabilities and even bringing back old techniques that were considered outdated.”
One DDoS campaign, for example, took advantage of a Routing Information Protocol (RIP) v1 attack that had been dormant for more than a year.
The quarter's largest DDoS attack measured in at over 240Gbps and lasted for over 13 hours. Application layer attacks (against Layer 7 targets) increased 17.65 percent over the previous quarter and 122.22 percent over the previous year.
Australia's ignominious rise into the top 10 DDoS sources: saw it responsible for 4 percent of global DDoS traffic – behind China (37 percent), the United States (17 percent), UK (10 percent), India (7%) and Spain (6%) but essentially level with Korea, Russia, Germany, and Taiwan.
This surge in bandwidth-based DDoS attacks – as opposed to Web application attacks, where Australia still doesn't place – was, Akamai said, due to “increased adoption of high-speed internet through NBN and connectivity of IoT devices in the region”. The latest NBN rollout figures show the network now reaches 1.2 million premises, with 33,345 existing homes, 6610 new homes and 7952 wireless added since the beginning of the current financial year.
This growth would be consistent with suggestions that home broadband growth is driving DDoS usage in Australia, with online gaming – the most targeted industry – targeted in around 35 percent of DDoS attacks. Akamai also warned that many DDoS perpetrators were using DDoS attacks as a means of extortion, as particularly seen in Q2 in the activities of Bitcoin-demanding group DD4BC.
Previous climbs by Australia had generally been in the victims tally: the Q1 2015 report found that Australia had jumped to distant second in the world as a target for online Web attacks, behind the United States.
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