The first half of a year is usually considered off season for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which is why security experts from Nexusguard were surprised to see a surge in Q1 2020.
According to the firm's new report, the number of DDoS attacks rose by more than 278 percent in Q1, compared to the same period last year, and by 542 percent compared to Q4 2019.
Being off season, Nexusguard researchers concluded that the coronavirus pandemic triggered the uptick, with lockdown making staff and consumers more dependent on online services.
Criminals also got creative, according to Nexusguard, which spotted various different types of DDoS attacks, including short attacks dubbed “invisible killers”. These types of attacks are often “willfully ignored by ISPs”, the company says, giving invisible anomalies access to website and online services networks.
“We believe that the ‘invisible killer’ trend will not go away anytime soon, and should not be dismissed at the risk of Internet network infrastructures suffering a deluge of attacks,” said Donny Chong, Product Director for Nexusguard.
“ISPs play a key role in preventing and mitigating attacks in the long run, protecting its own networks and customer networks from either ‘invisible killer’ or traditional attacks. Steps must be taken to address and manage suspicious traffic, safeguarding the connectivity and service uptime of customer networks from the threats of DDoS attacks," he added.
Attacks referred to as “bits-and-pieces” also continue to bypass traditional threshold-based detection. These attacks are conducted by drip-feeding small doses of junk traffic into a large IP pool, finally clogging the targeted infrastructure by accumulation.
Further, criminals appear to be shifting away from multi-vector attacks, as nine in ten attacks used a single-vector approach.