LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Next year will see an increase in the use of DDoS attacks being used as a smokescreen to distract IT teams – or ‘Dark DDoS’ – while other incursions infiltrate networks to steal sensitive data, according to 2016 predictions from Corero Network Security (LSE: CNS), a leading provider of First Line of Defence® security solutions against DDoS attacks.
Corero’s latest Trends and Analysis report found that attackers are continuing to leverage sub-saturating DDoS attacks with increasing frequency, using shorter attack durations to distract IT teams by causing network disruptions. The vast majority of DDoS attacks experienced by Corero customers during 2015 were less than 1Gbps, and more than 95% of these attacks lasted for 30 minutes or less.
Dave Larson, COO at Corero Network Security, explains: The highly sophisticated, adaptive and powerful Dark DDoS attack will grow exponentially next year as criminals build on their previous successes of using DDoS attacks as a distraction technique. The Carphone Warehouse attack in August was interesting because it was one of the first publicly reported cases of ‘Dark DDoS’ in the public domain. This is a new frontier for DDoS attacks and a growing threat for any Internet-connected business that is housing sensitive data, such as credit card details or other personally identifiable information.
“Traditional approaches to DDoS defence simply cannot catch these sophisticated attacks – only by using an always-on, inline DDoS mitigation solution that automatically removes the threat and provides real-time visibility will IT teams be able to harden their security perimeter to deal with this emerging security threat.”
Bitcoin ransom demands associated with DDoS attacks could triple in 2016
Corero’s Security Operations Centre has also recorded a sharp increase in hackers targeting their customers with Bitcoin ransom demands. During October 2015, 10% of Corero’s customer base was faced with extortion attempts, which threatened to take down or to continue an attack on their websites unless a ransom demand was paid. If the volume of DDoS attacks continues to grow at the current rate of 32% per quarter, according to Corero’s latest Trends and Analysis Report, the volume of Bitcoin ransom demands could triple to 30% by the same time next year.
Dave Larson continues: “Just one highly publicised participant will further fuel the epidemic by causing these demands to spread like wildfire. By deploying in-line, real-time DDoS mitigation tools, properly prepared organisations can stem this tide by refusing the ransom requests, secure in the knowledge that they are protected and can withstand the storm.”
The growth is being fuelled by the increased automation of DDoS attacks, which allows cyber criminals to enact hybrid, multi-vector attacks and expand their reach on an industrial scale. The Armada Collective cyber attackers recently claimed that their DDoS attacks can be as powerful as one Terabit per second, but the increasing industrialisation of DDoS attacks could soon reap even larger attacks.
Corero’s Security Operations Centre is already seeing a rise in automated DDoS tools being deployed. In these situations, attackers leverage one attack technique, such as a DNS flood, and if unsuccessful, automatically enact a second technique, such as an UDP flood, and keep leveraging different attack techniques automatically until their target’s Internet service is successfully denied.
Dave Larson continues: “Lizard Squad is already selling DDoS attacks-as-a-service for as little as $6 a month. To expedite the process, opportunistic cyber criminals may already be developing ransom kits to allow ransom demands to be automated even further. These attack tools know when they’re successful and they react in real-time. This level of automation works faster than humans and requires in-line, always-on, DDoS mitigation tools to provide a robust defence.
“The Internet of Things further exacerbates this problem by providing a proliferation of rarely secured end points which are vulnerable to attack. This provides a growing domain of potential botnets and means that there is no limit to the scale of future attacks.”
ISPs and their role in mitigating DDoS attacks
Another key trend that Corero anticipates in 2016 will be the increased role of ISPs in providing DDoS mitigation services to their customers. In a survey conducted this autumn, Corero revealed that three quarters (75%) of enterprise customers would like their ISP to provide additional security services to eliminate DDoS traffic from entering their networks. In addition, more than half of respondents confirmed that they would be willing to pay between 5-10% of their current ISP spend for a premium service to eliminate DDoS attacks from their environment.
Dave Larson continues: “The current status quo allows malicious traffic carrying DDoS threats to flow freely over most provider networks. As a result, most customers end up paying their provider for bandwidth that delivers potentially dangerous Internet content. But the technology exists for ISPs to turn this problem into a business opportunity. By providing DDoS mitigation tools as a service, deployed at the Internet edge, they can defeat this problem before it enters their customers’ networks.
“This also offers the potential for a real shake-up of the broadband market, since smaller Tier 3 providers could legitimately leapfrog larger Tier 1 providers by installing real-time, in-line DDoS protection. If larger providers continue to rely on their existing scrubbing centre solutions, which miss the majority of low-bandwidth, sub-saturating attacks, smaller Tier 3 providers could rapidly increase their market share by offering a service which customers clearly want.”