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Hackers target security researchers with DDoS attacks

We all know that the cyber security world is a constant war of attrition, but it seems that DDoS attackers are targeting those firms which represent a direct threat to their business model.

According to a new report from cyber security company Nexusguard, an attack research group, Loryka LLC, was the number one target in the first quarter of this year, with 90 DDoS attacks.

"Researchers and their related groups are becoming high-valued targets for digital criminals. We have seen this in the past, but never as a primary target for a whole quarter, making the findings in this quarterly report all the more important," says Terrence Gareau, chief scientist at Nexusguard. "We also found that the rise in DDoS-for-hire services is drastically changing the threat landscape, and organisations need to ensure their networks can handle new attack breeds".

The attack type of choice against researchers was network time protocol (NTP), with some victims receiving attacks almost daily. The increase in attacks against researchers contributed to an overall spike in popularity of NTP-style attacks, taking the number one spot from domain name system (DNS) vulnerabilities.

Nexusguard's security analysts also found most attacks lasted less than 10 minutes, and had a mean time of five minutes. The decrease in duration could be related to the continued rise in popularity of DDoS-for-hire services, which have led to shorter attack times. As a result, Nexusguard analysts recommend that organisations implement monitoring systems that can detect events on a second- or sub-second interval.

The report also looked at the top 10 targets by country, the United States and China take first and second positions, suffering more than 49,000 combined attacks. Turkey saw a peak of attacks in the last quarter of 2015 but has dropped out of the top 10 this year, reinforcing Nexusguard’s previous speculation that the peak of attacks was related to tensions between Russia and Turkey at the time.

In addition, Middle Eastern countries saw an 83 per cent increase in the number of attacks in Q1, and researchers predict there will be more attacks against countries in the region as tensions continue to rise.

You can see more detail of the findings in the full report which is available on the Nexusguard website.

Photo Credit: Fabio Berti/Shutterstock